Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics
The British Experience
By Tahir Abbas
Routledge – 2010 – 248 pages
Routledge – 2010 – 248 pages
The expression of an Islamic political radicalism in Britain has been one of the most dramatic developments in recent decades. Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics explores the nature of this phenomenon by analysing the origins of Islam and its historical contact with Western Europe and Britain, and the emergence of Islamic political radicalism in the Muslim world and in the West.
Tahir Abbas draws on historical analysis and contemporary case studies to explore the post-war immigration and integration of Muslim groups, the complex relations that exist between a secular liberal Britain and a diverse but multifaceted Islam, and the extent of social and economic inequalities that affect Muslims as individual citizens and in local area communities. He shows how violent extremism among British Muslims is in reality influenced by a range of issues, including the factors of globalisation and contemporary politics, media and culture. Analysing and dissecting public policy, Abbas offers suggestions for tackling the major social, political and economic questions facing British Muslims in the post-7/7 era.
An important contribution to the study of religion, ‘race’ and ethnicity in modern Britain, this accessible work will be of interest to anyone working in the field of Islamic studies, sociology and political radicalism.
Cover design by Mahtab Hussain, www.mahtabhussain.com
‘Much of the commentary on Islam today is shrill and one-dimensional which further widens the gap between Muslims and non-Muslims. Because Tahir Abbas’ Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics is reasoned, scholarly and aims to provide historical context it is a powerful corrective. Being both British and Muslim allows him to present us with a truly insider’s account.’ -Professor Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University
‘In the face of so many superficial denunciations of radical Islam in Britain, Tahir Abbas provides an account that is both broad in its historical coverage and profound in its social analysis. In his sweep of several centuries of South Asian Islamic thinking, Abbas includes the conflicts engendered by British colonialism, and the complex processes of immigration and settlement in Britain. He is especially good in his own speciality, the patterns of inequality in education and in the labour market, through which he shows how the global growth in radical thinking can articulate with domestic social disparities. Here is a distinctive voice entering the debate.’ - John R. Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis.
‘Terrorist incidents have created controversy about Islam and Muslims, and British Muslims have been part of this debate. Media and lay people take a very superficial view and blame Islam and Muslims for radicalisation. This book is an in-depth study of the causes of radicalisation of a section of British Muslims. It is a very useful study indeed and all those who want to understand this complex phenomenon should read the book: Dr Abbas has done a good job!’ - Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, India
‘A remarkable book, well researched, comprehensive in its coverage and highly relevant to contemporary British political concerns.’ - John Rex, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, Warwick University
'[T]his book provides a valuable resource for all who are interested in the future of urban multiculturalism in Britain, in the pathways that British Islam may take in the next generation, and in the ways in which these two questions intertwine and affect us all.' - Chris Shannahan (2011): Islamic radicalism and multicultural politics: the British experience, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations, 22:4, 491-492
"With its meticulous referencing, the book contains masses of information which would help both academics and students find their way into this extremely important field." - Max Farrar, Emeritus Professor, Leeds Metropolitan University; Network, Magazine of the British Sociological Association, Spring 2012
"Overall the book is a must read not only for those interested in British Muslims, but it enlightens any reader about the problems and reasons for radicalization of Muslims in West. The young author must be congratulated for this serious academic effort, as he goes beyond the conventional discourse on Muslims in the West and offers many valuable insights that can help policy makers, academics, politicians, and students to understand the pristine picture of Muslims without any prejudice and bias." - Mushtaq Ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, Kashmir University; Journal of Islamic State Practices in International Law Volume 8 Number 2 Winter 2012.
"An analysis, examination and assessment—rooted in a study of the historical detail of the nature of Muslim minority communities as well as evaluation of the socio-economic politico-cultural dynamics—of the lived experience in relation to issues of radicalism and identity politics, modernity and law, citizenship and multiculturalism. Being an original research, written in a lucid, coherent and consistent style, the description being captivating and fascinating, Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics, on the whole, is an incredible and remarkable contribution to the study of religion, race and ethnicity in modern Britain. The book will prove much useful and helpful uniformly to the students and scholars, who are working in the fields of ethnic studies, political science, Islamic studies and sociology." - Tauseef Ahmad Parray; Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (2013).
"The book is an exciting read, and provides an informative glimpse into Islam’s history, its organizational structure, and the various strands of its radical character. The author is himself a British Muslim (though currently teaching in Turkey), which makes his voice distinctive and adds strength to his arguments. Overall, this is a thoughtful, well-written account by a distinguished scholar in his field. The work is distinct in its clear description of the complex relationship between secular liberal Britain and militant Muslim Britain. The author has successfully constructed a coherent narrative on British multiculturalism and Islamic radicalism, though the addition of first-hand data (such as interviews or surveys of different sections of the British Muslim community) would have made the work more complete. It should be read by anyone seeking to acquire a deeper understanding of Muslim Britain, Islamic radicalism, and multicultural policy." - Divya Girishkumar, Cardiff University, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Preface 1. From the Historical to the Contemporary 2. Islamic Political Radicalism: Origins and Destinations 3. Post-war Immigration: Ethnicity, Identity and Spatiality 4. The Formation of Muslim Capital: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurialism 5. Neo-Orientalism and Islamophobia: The Media and Print News 6. The Political Philosophy of Multiculturalism and the ‘Modern Muslim’ 7. Islamist Identity Politics in the Context of Glocalisation 8. Muslims, Crime, Terror and the Law 9. British Islam Tomorrow and the Battle Ahead
Tahir Abbas is a leading social scientist specialising in the area of ethnic relations and Muslim minorities in the West. He is currently Professor of Sociology at Fatih University, Istanbul.