Muslims Isolated In Small Town UK

(Al Jazeera)

A report published by a British university has found that arson, criminal damage, violence and intimidation against Muslims in the UK have increased dramatically since the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.

In particular, the authors found that since Muslim communities in small towns are more isolation than in cities, they are more vulnerable to attack and this accounts for higher Islamophobia-related incidents.

The study, Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: UK Case Studies, was published by the University of Exeter and is part of a 10-year academic research project undertaken by its European Muslim Research Centre.

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Jonathan Githens-Mazer, a co-author of the report, said: "There are two main things that are significant about this [report].

"One is that it talks about the experiences of Muslims that are living away from the big cities, away from big Muslim population areas and starts unpacking some of the problems they are having in these places.

"The other thing is that it starts talking about the politics of securitisation of Muslims, Muslims always being associated with terrorism, those ideas are being taken up by those who do violence against Muslims.

The study found that isolated Muslim communities in places like Colchester, Bishop's Stortford and Boston have become especially vulnerable.

"In these small towns communities become very vulnerable because quite simply they don't have the same support network," Githens-Mazer said.

"And also in small towns it may be that local councils or police, as positive as they try to be about these things, really aren't trained to deal with those issues."

"The real question isn't so much why there's Islamically-inspired terrorism. The real question is how is it that 99.99 per cent of the community want to have nothing to do with it, want to reject it," Githens-Mazer said.
Al Jazeera