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Young British Muslims

Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media

Nahid Afrose Kabir

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Offers insights into the hopes and aspirations of British Muslims from remarkably diverse ethnicities

In Britain’s highly politicised social climate in the aftermath of the 7/7 London bombings, this book provides an in-depth understanding of British Muslim identity. Nahid Kabir has carried out over 200 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with young Muslims in five British cities: London, Leicester, Bradford, Leeds and Cardiff. By emphasising the importance of biculturalism, Kabir conveys a realistic and hopeful vision for their successful integration into British society.


List of Tables and Figures
List of Abbreviations
1. The identity debate
2. Muslims in Britain: An overview
3. The religious and cultural dilemma
4. To be or not to be British
5. Is the media biased against Muslims?
6. The niqab debate
7. Indignation about proposal to include Shariah law in Britain
Conclusion: A humanitarian way forward

About the Author

Nahid Afrose Kabir is Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Muslim and non-Muslim Understanding, University of South Australia. She was a visiting fellow (2009–2011) at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University, USA. Dr Kabir is the author of 'Young British Muslims: Identity, Culture, Politics and the Media' (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press 2010) and 'Muslims in Australia: Immigration, Race Relations and Cultural History' (London: Routledge 2005).


Packed with insight … this is a book which students would really relate to, and it is a mine of information for teachers… this excellent book effectively expresses the variety of positions held by British Muslims on important public issues.

- Max Farrar, Emeritus Professor, Leeds Metropolitican University, Network: Magazine of the British Sociological Association

Young British Muslims is to be welcomed as an important contribution.

- Russell Sandberg, Cardiff University, LSE Review of Books

A useful overview of issues relating to Muslims in Britain, with a particular focus on the political and media context of the last decade or more … It is highly readable, with a clear structure and concise overview of significant socio-political issues … A second strength can be found in the extensive qualitative material deployed to support more general discussions concerning familiar and high-profile political issues. The multiple voices of young Muslim participants in this study regularly shine through, highlighting the ways in which individuals form and express nuanced opinions, often on matters that are frequently simplified by mainstream discourse.

- Carl Morris, Cardiff University, Islam and Christian–Muslim Relations

The book projects the sense that its subjects are real people living real, contingent lives. This is conveyed by the author’s decision to quote verbatim rather than edit segments of her respondents’ discourse, and to include in her tabulation of her statistical findings key points consisting of their individual remarks ... The value of such an approach is that it resists the seemingly ubiquitous judgement that young Muslims are ‘a problem’ – unstable and potential terrorists.

- Geoffrey Nash, University of Sunderland, European Journal of Cultural Studies

This volume makes a great contribution to the debate regarding the formation of young British Muslims’ identity by shedding enormous light on the issues of politics, culture, and media. The empirical findings and solid evidence provided in this volume merit particular attention by academics, policymakers, NGOs and the public. This book is highly accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students of the Middle Eastern Studies.

- Mahmood Monshipouri, San Francisco State University, Human Rights Quarterly

'This timely study is the result of extensive research undertaken on the identity of young Muslims in both Australia and the UK. Kabir’s style and approach are refreshingly clear and informative as she guides the reader through a considered analysis of her own ethnographic fieldwork, drawing upon interviews with over 200 Muslims in five British cities: London; Leicester; Bradford; Leeds; and Cardiff, - with a focus on biculturalism and multiple identities… Her study raises important aspects of the way young British Muslims are actively demystifying and dismantling misconceptions on the part of both Muslims and non-Muslims and that they have "the potential to be a tremendous asset to their home nation" (p.218).'

- Jo Manby, Ethnicity and Race in a Changing World: A Review Journal

"Makes a contribution to the nascent field of Muslim youth studies by offering windows into the hopes and aspirations of young British Muslims as well as presenting some interesting typologies of self-definition."

- Sadek Hamid, Liverpool Hope University, The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences