'Islamophobia,' if any, especially as contested within a U.K. context, is just such an instance of an active (mis)labelling practice in which contestants - '(Jeudo-Christian) Occident' vs. '(Islamist) Orient' as possible (mis)labelled parties to contest - exchange exact same (mis)labelled identity signifier i.e. 'Islamophobic' not only in order to frame parties to contest but for an appropriation of what, ultimately, defines frames of contest per se.
Indeed, much literature is dedicated to question (mis)appropriateness of 'Islamophobia' as a labeller of 'phobia' generated, presumably, from an increasingly 'visible' presence of Islam / Muslims in the U.K. in recent years. 1,2,3 The case for / against Islamophobia, depending on which party holds argument, is, in fact, made much blurry given ambiguity of what constitutes a Muslim identity in the first place. 4 Considering potentially multiple identities of U.K. Muslims 5,6, contestation between and
This paper examines multilayered manipulations of Islamophobia as contested within a U.K context. The argument, first, discusses literature on race relations and immigration policies, more emphasis being laid on policies pertaining to Commonwealth subjects in Indian Subcontinent. An examination follows of how race-based (addressing ethnicity, assimilation and multiculturalism issues) as opposed to faith-based (addressing religious practices, rights, and interfaith relations) protections have much influenced and/or mixed up contestations over Islam, Muslims and, most importantly, Islamophobia, if any, within a U.K. context. Finally, Islamophobia is placed in a wider European context in which contestation over Islamophobia as such is connected to Continental debates on modern nation-states and multiculturalisms.
Race, race relations and immigration policies
Historically, Britain has received waves of immigrants of diverse descent for a multitude of reasons. Yet, post-World War II period, particularly during mid-1940's, 1950's and 1960's, witnessed unprecedented influx into major industrial cities for reconstruction efforts. 7,8 Up until late 1960's, no specific laws addressed inter-ethnic violence and conflict. Ironically, ex-colonies subjects were regarded, after all, as second class citizens. 9 Only when families of 'Asian' (primarily Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi) works started to 'flood' English cities and ports in what is referred to as 'chain immigration' (i.e. residents invite close family members and friends and, once
[Insert Your Last Name] 4
settled, relatives and friends invite their own families and friends) did local acts of ethnic violence give prominence to and raise public awareness on a national level of 'alien' citizen status as part of British reality. 10
Still, post-World War II period is one characterised more by inflammatory statements made about nationals of 'non-British' blood and descent 11 rather than about