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Session Overview
RN31_07: Anti-Muslim Resentment and Racism
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Heiko Beyer, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Location: UP.4.213
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

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Attitudes and Prejudice towards Islam and Muslims among Croatian Students

Luka Jurković, Ksenija Klasnić, Davorka Matić

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Terrorist activities of Islamic extremists and the massive influx of predominantly Muslim refugees in Europe have contributed to the rising Islamophobia in European societies. Islam is increasingly being perceived as an inherently aggressive and violent religion that breeds intolerance and hatred of others. Accordingly, Muslims are viewed as an inferior and dangerous “Other” who poses a real threat to Western civilization, its values, people and way of life. A cross-sectional study conducted among the students of the University of Zagreb (N=650) had the primary goal to asses the attitudes and prejudice towards Islam and Muslims generally, as well as towards Muslims living in Croatia.

Results showed that students mostly perceive Islam as a religion that promotes oppression of women and portray Muslims as a people who, when compared with the followers of other religions, are more prone to terrorism. However, results also showed a relatively low level of prejudice towards domestic Muslim population, with a broad majority of students rejecting statements that express negative attitudes towards Muslims living in Croatia.

Although results showed a relatively low level of social distance, there was a weak to moderate positive correlation between social distance and anti-Muslim attitudes. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted in order to asses the role of political attitudes, social distance toward different national, religious, racial and social groups, knowledge of Islam in the attitudes towards Islam and Muslims, controlling for religiosity and gender. The strongest predictor of anti-Muslim attitudes was a perception of threat to European and national security.

‘When People Complain of the Darkness, We Should Light a Candle’: Muslims, Racism and Everyday Life

Joanne Britton

Sheffield University, United Kingdom

The starting point for this paper is that racialised anxieties about the position of Muslims in European societies have become a consistent feature of populist political discourses. The paper reflects on how resentment and fear underpin resulting problematizing accounts of European Muslims that focus on criminality, cultural dysfunction and self-segregation. Racial meanings are brought into play by foregrounding culture and ethnicity in ways that position Muslims as problematic outsiders requiring regulation and surveillance. The paper presents research evidence demonstrating the ways in which Muslims experience and respond to resulting manifestations of racism in everyday life. It considers how the impact of these has negative implications for the future of a multicultural, convivial Europe, as Muslim minority interests are less willingly accommodated and Muslims feel less at home in local and national space. It shows how negative implications are not straightforward or inevitable by presenting evidence of how Muslims disrupt dominant political discourses through positive claims to local and national space and commitment to belonging. It concludes by reflecting on key challenges of finding ways of being both European and Muslim, publicly and with confidence.

Anti-Muslim Racism And 'Intersectional Stereotyping' In Germany's Contemporary Media Discourse On Migration

Iris Wigger

Loughborough University, United Kingdom

This paper presents main findings of a research article linked to my British Academy/Leverhulme research project 'The end of tolerance? 'Race', sex and violence in Germany's media discourse on migration'. It outlines how German mass print media have represented migrant men with Muslim backgrounds in relation to mainstream society and examines racialised stereotypes these media (re-)produce, including that of the migrant male Muslim as a threatening criminal and sexual perpetrator. Media reports about refugee 'sex mobs’ have risen in the wake of wider societal discussions and controversies surrounding the European refugee crisis and the consequences of welcoming over 1.5 Million refugees from predominantly Muslim countries into Germany in recent years. Many of these reports have been written in the aftermath of the Cologne New Year’s Eve 2016 sexual attacks by migrant men against German women and there is evidence that at least some of them are unfounded and false. My thematic analysis of three major German newspapers and a Political Weekly between 2015-2017 identifies a racialisation and ‘islamicisation’ of sexual violence in the media portrayal of Muslim migrant men and proposes an original theoretical frame of 'intersectional stereotyping' to conceptualise and historically reflect on the intersecting of racialised, gendered and religious patterns in the media discourse on male Muslim migrants. It also discusses ambivalences within the media representation of this group. These echo recent critical voices and feminist initiatives in German society which question and critique the racialisation of sexual violence. The paper provides a previously unexplored insight into racialised anti-Muslim stereotyping in German society in socio-political and historical context through the lens of Mass print media.

The Link between Anti-Muslim Sentiment and Racism

Christopher Bratt

University of Kent, United Kingdom

Immigration to Europe has given rise to overt hostility towards Muslim immigrants. One view of such anti-Muslim sentiment is that it is based on a desire to maintain traditional cultural values in Europe (culturalism). Others regard anti-Muslim sentiment as a form of racism, comparable with anti-Semitism. The present research seeks to use empirical evidence to shed light on the question whether anti-Muslim sentiment reflects racism more than culturalism. Data are from the European Social Survey (N = 32,000), with 20 participating countries. Confirmatory Factor Analysis compares attitudes to Muslim, Romani (Gypsy), and Jewish immigration, as well as a preference for immigrants being White. Single-level and multilevel analyses regress attitudes to immigration on the belief that some races are born better equipped (traditional racism) and on the view that some cultures are better than others (culturalism). The analysis concludes that anti-Muslim sentiment is well integrated in general attitudes that include hostility towards other groups, even Jews. Further, traditional racist beliefs more than culturalism predict these anti-immigration attitudes, both generalised attitudes and attitudes towards single immigrant groups. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether generalised, racially motivated hostility towards different outgroups (e.g. Muslims and Jews) is a cause or rather a consequence of modern anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe.

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