Misrecognised as Muslim : the racialisation of Christians of Middle Eastern heritage in the UK
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Since the early 2000s in many countries of the Global North, Muslim religious identities have become racialised through the global ‘war on terror’, the ascendancy of right-wing populists, and localised but high-profile disturbances in disadvantaged urban areas. The racialisation of religion, which conflates concerns about the religious Other with race and ethnicity, has led to an environment where those from non-white ethnic backgrounds are mistakenly presumed to be Muslim. The present study contributes to the emergent literature on misrecognition as Muslim by exploring a novel case study, Middle Eastern Christians in the UK. Findings are based on qualitative research with Coptic, Iraqi and Assyrian Christian communities in London and central Scotland, involving 50 semi-structured interviews and six focus groups with members of the case study communities. In our analysis, we present Middle Eastern Christians’ everyday experiences of misrecognition based upon inferences about physical appearance and misconceptions about the Middle East. We identify three main types of response by those who are misrecognised, namely education, resignation, and differentiation. We argue that all three responses are problematic, insofar as they risk reifying group identities by putting moral pressure on members to conform to a unitary fixed view of the group.
Hunter , A P & McCallum Guiney , F 2023 , ' Misrecognised as Muslim : the racialisation of Christians of Middle Eastern heritage in the UK ' , Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , vol. Latest Articles . https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2022.2157803
Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
DescriptionThis work was supported by the HERA Joint Research Programme (www.heranet.info) which is co-funded by AHRC, AKA, BMBF via PT-DLR, DASTI, ETAG, FCT, FNR, FNRS, FWF, FWO, HAZU, IRC, LMT, MHEST, NWO, NCN, RANN IS, RCN, VR and The European Community FP7 2007-2013, under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme under Grant 291827.
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