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Dr Muhammad Khan, Tutor in Youth and Community Work at Ruskin College, Oxford, has written an incisive rebuttal of the recent Islamophobic campaign in Birmingham’s schools.  Many of these have very large Muslim populations, because of the demographic trends in Britain’s inner cities, which see a disproportionate number of younger people from the Black & Asian Ethnic minority communities. Muslim educationalists keen on improving standards and raising aspirations of school-goers have been at the receiving end of a barrage of innuendo and allegations.  Tahir Alam, a former chair of the Muslim Council of Britain’s Education Committee has been singled out. Dr Khan’s riposte is a real morale booster for all well-wishers of British Muslims. He writes in OpenDemocracy:

 …Pnina Werbner in 2005 explained Islamophobia by describing it as the fear of Muslims and Islam constructed on the basis of three tropes The slave or the subordinate – the dangerous street mugger who threatens the law and order of society, a figure reflecting fear of rebellion and insurrection…<p> The second trope that Werbner names is the witch: This is a different kind of fear: a fear of the disguised, the hidden, and the stranger seeking vengeance or retribution. This fear exists in the breakdown of trust within a community or nation leading to it becoming divided against itself, neighbour suspecting neighbour, colleague suspecting colleague. One can see this here in state measures that place a duty on teachers, employers, colleagues, neighbours and families to look for signs of radicalisation in their colleagues, students or children. This form of Islamophobia conveys the fear of a hidden agenda, of an intelligence planning and designing, a trope that the ‘Trojan Horse Plot’ has cultivated brilliantly…<p>

He is the author of Young Muslims, Pedagogy and Islam published by Policy Press

 OpenDemocracy 2nd May 2014


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