Islamophobia in UK universities

Authored by: Hareem Ghani , Ilyas Nagdee

The Routledge International Handbook of Islamophobia

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

Print ISBN: 9780815353751
eBook ISBN: 9781351135559
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351135559-16

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Abstract

Drawing on the findings of a NUS survey of Muslim students in Further and Higher Education, this chapter seeks to understand the Muslim student experience and the barriers they face to engagement. The survey explored a broad range of issues around academic and student life and here we focus on the findings related to Prevent; hate crime, harassment and Islamophobia; and the gendered perspective on each as the experiences that most starkly define what it is to be a Muslim student today. The chapter concludes that Prevent is a key driver shaping Muslim students’ experiences across their institutions, students’ unions and NUS, in particular around democratic and political engagement. It impedes their ability and confidence engaging on a range of student activities and the ‘chilling effect’ of Prevent is pervasive. Worryingly high levels of Islamophobic hate crime and incidents similarly lead Muslim students to disengage, both on and offline. The chapter highlights how media treatment of other Muslims in the student movement also plays a role in dissuading them to take on leadership and public facing roles. Combined with the threat to safe spaces for Muslim students to discuss issues affecting them, this creates a climate of fear, surveillance and self-censorship for Muslims in education. This is most keenly felt for visibly Muslim women who wear a traditional Islamic covering, a group for whom the findings repeatedly highlight higher levels of harassment, discomfort and marginalisation for.

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