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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Presence, Voice, Impact but still a lot to be done ...

A report on Muslim Participation in Contemporary Governance published by the Centre for the Study and Citizenship at University of Bristol, examines British Muslims’ inclusion in governance related to the areas of equality and cohesion; faith sector governance; and security. Drawing upon an analysis of public policy since 1997, 112 interviews with key policymakers and Muslim activists, as well as case studies of Birmingham, Leicester, and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the report suggests that ”Muslims have become increasingly visible in governance recently” and that, through a combination of developments within national level legislation and policy and increasing Muslim activism in the areas of equalities and the recognition of Muslim distinctiveness within legislation and social policy.

Overall, the report evaluated the degree of activity and effectiveness of Muslim interaction with government in three key areas: presence, voice and impact. The report asks a number of significant questions with regards to the representation and expression of Muslim voices such as who should be an interlocutor of government and its agencies and what procedures should ensure transparency in this area? and points out that, despite the advances in the effectiveness of Muslim campaigning, there is still a considerable degree of public mistrust towards Britain’s Muslim population that feeds demands for the securitization of approaches towards Muslim communities, and an uncompromising stance towards Muslim demands that are seen as an indication of unwillingness to integrate. The report constitutes an interesting starting point for a much needed debate about the complex and multifaceted character of the processes of inclusion of Britain's Muslims into the national body politic.

The research team behind the report include Therese O'Toole, Tariq Modood, Stephen Jones (University of Bristol), Daniel Nilsson DeHanas (University of Kent) and Nasar Meer (Northumbria University).

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