Call for papers: Muslims and Political Participation in Britain

This conference focuses on the involvement of Muslims in all aspects of political life in Britain with a particular emphasis on contemporary developments.

Muslims have played prominent roles at all levels of British politics and have been represented in various elected positions since Bashir Maan became a member for Glasgow City Council in 1970. Subsequent milestones have included Muslims first holding posts such as that of Lord Mayor in 1985, MP in 1997, life peer in 1998, Minister in 2007 and the first female Muslim MPs were elected in 2010. For many years the Labour party dominated politics in British Muslim communities and this relationship is still strong. Yet all the major parties now actively seek to court a Muslim electorate as evidenced by the establishment of groups such as the Conservative Muslim Forum.

Despite the impact that Muslims have had on election campaigns and their roles in various political institutions, research on this topic remains scant. Indeed, much of the existing work was couched within the broader areas of the participation of ethnic minorities or the impact of race on electoral politics. The conference hopes to address this lacuna and thereby highlight current research that deals with Muslims and political participation in Britain, whether at local, regional or national levels. It seeks to pay particular attention to how this participation has changed over recent years and identify new trends for the future, although historical reflections are also welcome.

In addition to electoral politics and representation, the conference also seeks the submission of papers on other aspects of civil society such as social movements, trade unions and NGOs as well as papers which give insights into developments in other European countries. Cross-country comparisons which include Britain would be especially welcome.

Contributions could focus on (but are not limited to) the following issues:

– Selection of Muslim candidates by political parties and attempts by parties to reach out to Muslim voters.

– Election campaigns by Muslim candidates including the role of community organisations, mosques and social networking

– Voting patterns amongst Muslim communities. Is there a ‘Muslim vote’?

– Muslim elected representatives in office.

– Community politics, bloc voting and biraderi networks

– Participation in policymaking and implementation as well as in local and national processes of governing

– Contentious politics and campaigning groups e.g. environmentalism, anti-war, global justice movements

– Attitudes to political participation and the political process

– British foreign policy and international conflicts e.g. Kashmir, Israel/Palestine

– Muslim political organisations and umbrella groups both past and present e.g. the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Parliament, British Muslim Forum, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Sufi Muslim Council, Progressive British Muslims etc.

Please send proposed abstracts of between 200 – 400 words to Dr Timothy Peace t.peace@ed.ac.uk before 22nd December 2011. Proposals must include a title, your name and affiliation and an e-mail address. After the conference and following peer review, selected papers will be published in either an edited volume or a special issue of a journal.

On the evening of Friday 20th April there will be a public debate on the future of Muslim political participation, featuring a number of elected representatives including Anas Sarwar MP and Humza Yousaf MSP.

Further information about the conference and details of how to register may be found at http://www.alwaleed.ed.ac.uk/

The conference is organised by the Alwaleed Centre at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN).

Report on Muslims in Marseilles, France Released

A report carried out by Vincent Geisser and Françoise Lorcerie under the auspices of the “At Home Europe” program has been released. The report examines the Muslim population in Marseilles within six sectors: education, lodging, employment, health, safety, political participation, and social identity and the media. Approximately 30% of the city’s population is said to be Muslim. A similar report about Paris is expected soon.

 

“Contextualising Islam in Britain” Enters Second Phase

The views of leading UK Muslims on some of the most contentious issues affecting Muslims in Britain are to be compiled and published online in the second phase of a groundbreaking project.

The initiative, called “Contextualising Islam in Britain”, first ran in 2009 and will bring together about 30 Muslim scholars, academics and activists to address a range of topics. These include, among others, Islamic faith schools, Islam and gender equality, the relationship between the individual and the community, and political participation.

It will be hosted by the University of Cambridge, working in association with the Universities of Westminster and Exeter. The group’s findings will be released to the public in a full report which it is expected will be published online and made available for free download in June.

The project is the second phase of an initiative originally conceived and funded by the last Government as part of the “Prevent” strategy, which is currently under review, to combat extremism. It will, however, be fully independent of both the Government and of the Universities involved.

Recent update to the British country profile

Euro-Islam.info country profiles provide in-depth statistics and analysis in the areas of demographics, employment, education, community organizations, housing, Islamic practice, political participation, bias and discrimination, immigration and anti-terrorism policies, and political discourse.

Read more…

Muslims and political participation in Europe

Papers are invited for an international conference to be jointly organized by:
– the EurIslam network, based at the University of Strasbourg – http://www.eurislam.info/index_EN.html
– Centre for European Islamic Thought (CEIT), at the University of Copenhagen – http://www.teol.ku.dk/english/dept/ceit_eng/

The conference will take place Wednesday to Friday 6-8 October 2010 in Copenhagen. The conference was originally planned for April 2010 but had

to be postponed due to the closure of air traffic by volcanic ash.

The conference will focus on the following overlapping and interlocking dimensions (these are not to be understood as exclusive of related
themes):

1. The processes and realities of Muslim participation in local and national politics: Voting patterns and representation in local and national assemblies; the place of Islam as an identifying factor – do candidates highlight or marginalize their ‘Muslimness’ (and what is ‘Muslim’ in this context?); the relationship between Muslim and ethnic identities in the political processes.

2. Internal Muslim debates about political participation in Europe: Attitudes of Muslims to the democratic processes; views for and against political participation in non-Muslim society; who can/should represent Muslims, or are there other priorities?

3. Public discourses about Muslim participation; political participation

as a method or consequence of integration; state policies regarding Muslim political participation; relationship between participation and citizenship; is Muslim participation welcomed or contingent on privatizing the faith?

Scholars wishing to present a paper should send an abstract and a brief CV to the address below as soon as possible and not later than 1 September 2010. The abstract will be reviewed by colleagues at Copenhagen and Strasbourg and a response will be sent as soon as possible. Authors of accepted papers will have the costs of their accommodation in Copenhagen covered but will need to cover their own travel costs.

Consideration is being given to publishing the papers after the conference. Participants who wish to have their papers considered for publication should be prepared to send the full text of the paper to the

organizers by 27 September 2010.

Paper abstracts and CVs should be sent to: ceit@teol.ku.dk

Obama makes a positive impact for Muslims in America

Because of the Obama Administration’s bridge-building approach to relations with the Muslim world, Muslims in America are more engaged in society and politics to share in shaping the country and its foreign policies.

“Contrary to perception outside, Muslims in the US are completely free to express their views. They are interacting with academia. Islamic Studies is being made a subject of research in universities. They are also holding interfaith dialogues. This all is helping in removing misconception about Muslims and Islam in the US,” says Dr. Omar Khalidi, writer and staff member of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT in Cambridge, MA.

Muslim party founded in Denmark

In Denmark a Muslim party has been founded. The party is called ‘Denmark’s Muslims’ and the party’s mission is to fight for socially marginalized people.

The founder, Ras Anbessa, converted to Islam in 2008. He is currently a member of the Danish Social Democrats. He has also been part of the left-wing antiracism network called ‘The Black Sheeps’. However, he is not impressed by the left-wing opposition in Denmark and he thinks there is a need for a political party who fights for the rights of minorities.

How big support the party will get from Danish Muslims is unknown. At the moment the party’s Facebook group has 1,300 members. Professor in Political
Science at University of Copenhagen, Kasper Møller Hansen, considers it to
be very difficult for ‘Denmark’s Muslims’ to gain seats in the national
parliament. Many of the established parties already have Muslim candidates
of whom several is elected to parliament. Furthermore there are many
fractions among Danish Muslims. “Muslims are not just Muslims and because
you are Muslim it doesn’t mean you would support a certain party,” Kasper
Møller Hansen says.

The Securitization of Islam in Europe

This paper summarises the main hypotheses and results of the research on the securitisation of Islam. It posits that the securitisation of Islam is not only a speech act but also a policymaking process that affects the making of immigration laws, multicultural policies, antidiscrimination measures and security policies. The paper deconstructs and analyses the premises of such policies as well as their consequences on the civic and political participation of Muslims. The behaviour of Muslims was studied through 50 focus groups conducted in Paris, London, Berlin and Amsterdam over the year 2007-08. The results show a great discrepancy between the assumptions of policy-makers and the political and social reality of Muslims across Europe. The paper presents recommendations to facilitate the greater inclusion of Muslims within European public spheres.

“Muslims and Political Participation in Europe”: Copenhagen, April 21-22, 2010

The international conference is jointly organized by The EURISLAM Network, based at the University of Strasbourg (http://www.eurislam.info/index_EN.html) and The Centre for European Islamic Thought (CEIT), based at the University of Copenhagen (http://www.teol.ku.dk/english/dept/ceit_eng/).

The conference will take place Wednesday, April 21 and Thursday, April 22, 2010 in Copenhagen and will focus on the following overlapping and interlocking issues. (Note: these are not to be understood as exclusive of/from related themes):

1. The processes and realities of Muslim participation in local and national politics: Voting patterns and representation in local and national assemblies; the place of Islam as an identifying factor – do candidates highlight or marginalize their ‘Muslimness’ (and what is
‘Muslim’ in this context?); the relationship between Muslim and ethnic identities in the political processes.

2. Internal Muslim debates about political participation in Europe: Attitudes of Muslims to the democratic processes; views for and against political participation in non-Muslim society; who can/should represent Muslims, or are there other priorities?

3. Public discourses about Muslim participation; political participation as a method or consequence of integration; state policies regarding Muslim political participation; relationship between participation and citizenship; is Muslim participation welcomed or contingent on privatizing the faith?

Scholars wishing to present a paper should send an abstract and a brief CV to the address below as soon as possible and not later than 1 February 2010 to the address below. The abstract will be reviewed by colleagues at Copenhagen and Strasbourg and a response will be sent as soon as possible. Authors of accepted papers will have the costs of their accommodation in Copenhagen covered but will need to cover their own travel costs.

Paper abstracts and CVs should be sent to:
Prof. Jørgen S. Nielsen: jsn@teol.ku.dk

New Muslim Party in Antwerp

Two Antwerp residents are making plans to set up a leftist Islamic party with hopes of participating in the 2012 municipal elections.  The party – simply called “Moslem” is being created because its founders feel that the traditional parties neglect the local Muslim community, and call on them only when it is convenient for politicians, said Mohamed Sidi Habibi.  Habibi added: “We are a democratic party that has respect for the law; the law of Belgium and the law of Islam. The spirit of Islam has respect for everything that lives, and that is the heart of Green.”  The new party will also oppose the ban on headscarves for civil servants in Antwerp, saying that “that ban hinders the emancipation of women.”  Habibi’s comments were in reference to a wholly emancipated female Muslim doctor, who was rejected by the University of Antwerp when they were made aware that she wore a headscarf.

Full text article continues here. (Some news sites may require registration)