Islamophobia and the Muslim student

Disciplining the intellect

Authored by: Tania Saeed

The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815353751
eBook ISBN: 9781351135559
Adobe ISBN:


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Islamophobia is a socio-psychological phenomenon, a form of discrimination and racialisation that not only demonises and securitises entire Muslim communities, but is also internalised by Muslims, conscious of how their identity is (re)presented in the socio-political imagination. In the UK this is clearly illustrated through state policies on counter terrorism where the ‘Muslim subject’ becomes the problem, if not today then potentially in the future, in a perpetual state of vulnerability to extremist ideologies. Educational institutions, including universities have been implicated in such a counter terrorism agenda, especially under the Counter Terrorism and Security Act 2015 that has placed a ‘statutory’ responsibility on such institutions to report on students perceived to be vulnerable to radicalisation. Such surveillance has implications for intellectual freedom and engagement especially for Muslim students. This chapter examines how Islamophobia in relation to securitisation disciplines the Muslim body and mind, where students consciously control their speech, engaging in self-censorship lest they are perceived to be ‘at risk’ to radicalisation. Drawing on a narrative study of forty Muslim female university students conducted in 2010–2012, and recent reports of Islamophobia in educational institutions, this chapter illustrates how such self-regulation makes Islamophobia more dangerous, a socio-psychological phenomenon that has increasingly become common place in the UK, propelled by the existing security agenda.

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