‘Grooming’ and Racialisation Politics

In the wake of 9/11, contemporary Islamophobia has become globalised, especially in the ‘West’. In turn, ‘a global stock of clichés, stereotypes and folk myths about the Muslim ‘Other’’ are frequently drawn upon to inform common sense about local circumstances and local events. These processes can underpin ‘a seemingly never-ending series of moral panic spirals in which the perceived deviance of Muslims is amplified’.

In recent research, Waqas Tufail (a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Leeds Beckett University) and Scott Poynting (adjunct Professor at the University of Western Sydney) have traced how Muslim communities became demonised following a case of ‘grooming’ and sexual violence in Rochdale, UK.

In this case, the crimes of nine men became a focus point for the apparent dangerousness of Muslims, nationally and globally. Their crimes were represented as symbols of deviant Muslim masculinities and Islam-based patriarchy that promoted sexual exploitation.

Tufail and Poynting found that British Muslims had to continually justify their ‘Britishness’ or prove that they belonged. They often felt expected to share the blame and find solutions for ‘their’ problems. Further, as Muslim men became depicted as ‘the’ sexual predators, the sexual violence within mainstream, white British society became increasingly overlooked.

You can read the full chapter, that was initially published in Pratt D and Woodlock R (eds) (2016) Fear of Muslims, Springer, here.

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