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Between Critical and Uncritical Understandings: A Case Study Analyzing the Claims of Islamophobia Made in the Context of the Proposed ‘Super-Mosque’ in Dudley, England

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Author(s): Chris Allen

Journal: Societies
ISSN 2075-4698

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 186;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Islamophobia | mosques | local politics | English Defence League | far-right | Dudley

ABSTRACT
Research highlights how usage and claims of Islamophobia tend to be simplistic and without nuance. Using a case study approach, this article considers the claims of Islamophobia made in relation to the proposed Dudley ‘super-mosque’. Setting out a narrative of the ‘super-mosque’, this article draws upon primary and secondary research to consider the claims and discourses of the major actors in the Dudley setting: the Dudley Muslim Association, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, the far-right especially the British National Party and the English Defence League, as well as individual political figures. Considering each in detail, this article seeks to evaluate the extent to which each of the actors and the claims of Islamophobia made against them might be valid. As well as exploring claims of Islamophobia within a ‘real’ environment, this article seeks to critically engage the opposition shown towards the mosque, the way in which the opposition campaigns were mobilized and engineered, and how the ideological meanings of Islamophobia was able to be readily utilized to validate and justify such opposition. In doing so, this article concludes that the claims and usage of Islamophobia was weak and that a more critical and nuanced usage of the term is urgently required.
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