Today sees the launch of the European Muslim Research Centre (EMRC) and its seminal research paper on ‘Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study’.
The EMRC, based at Exeter University, is co-directed by Dr Jonathan Githens-Mazer and Dr Robert Lambert, former head of the Muslim Contact Unit at Scotland Yard.
Their first piece of research, a report into anti-Muslim hate crime in London, establishes a causal relationship between an environment that habitually demonises Islam and Muslims, stoked by media commentators and populist politicians, and religiously motivated hate crimes.
The report states:
"…empirical evidence demonstrate[s] that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media. Moreover, the evidence is clear that the major motivating factor for violence against Muslims is a negative and false belief that Muslims pose a security or terrorist threat."
"Islamophobic, negative and unwarranted portrayals of Muslim London as Londonistan and Muslim Londoners as terrorists, sympathisers and subversives in sections of the media appear to provide the motivation for a significant number of anti-Muslim hate crimes."
"An experienced BNP activist in London explains that he believes that most BNP supporters simply followed the lead set by their favourite tabloid commentators that they read every day.
"When these commentators singled out Muslims as threats to security and social cohesion, he says that it was perfectly natural for BNP supporters to adopt the same thinking."
ENGAGE has already noted the penchant of certain columnists to rationalise anti-Muslim prejudice or adopt the language and causes of the BNP. Articles that are then reproduced on the BNP’s own website.
You can read a comment piece contributed by the EMRC co-directors on their research findings and the objectives of the EMRC on Guardian Comment is Free here.
And access the report ‘Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study’ via the EMRC website here.
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