CIK Launch

Counter-Islamophobia Kit Project Launch 

February 2017

Welcome to the first ‘Countering Islamophobia Through the Development of Best Practice in the Use of Counter-Narratives in EU Member States’, or Counter-Islamophobia Kit (CIK) project blog.

The CIK project was awarded a European Commission, Directorate of Justice action grant. The purpose of the grant is to support transnational projects which seek to prevent and combat racism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance (JUST/2015/RRAC/AG). Launched in January 2017, the two year project is led by the University of Leeds and brings together academic partners from the University of Leeds, Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, along with partners in Belgium (University of Liège), the Czech Republic (Charles University), Hungary (Central European University), Portugal (University of Coimbra) and Greece (Alba Graduate Business School), and non-academic partners, the Islamic Human Rights Commission, in the UK.

Islamophobia in Europe is increasingly normalised and is transmitted through media and political discourses. European Muslims face growing rates of prejudice, discrimination, hate speech and even physical attacks. This growth in anti-Muslim hatred across Europe, and its numerous forms, has been well documented (Ameli and Merali, 2015, Bayrakli and Hafez, 2016, Bayrakli and Hafez, 2017, ECRI, 2016, Seta, 2016, Sian et al., 2013). In spite of this well-noted proliferation of Islamophobia, there remains a lack of critical assessment of effective counter-narratives to Islamophobia employed across Europe.

The overall aim of the CIK project is to produce a transferable toolkit of counter-narratives to Islamophobia, building on an assessment of the range and content of counter-narratives to Muslim hatred and hostility in eight national case study contexts and their application, operation and impact on prevailing narratives of hate and hostility. These eight case studies are France, Germany, the UK, Belgium, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Greece.

The CIK project is divided into four principal workstreams. Workstream one will categorise prevailing current narratives of Muslim hatred, identify their key elements and interlocking contextual environments employing the Domination Hate Model of Intercultural Relations (Ameli and Merali, 2015) Categorising Prevailing Narratives of Muslim Hatred will describe and explain the discursive content and forms that Muslim hatred takes. This categorisation will be based on a review of the literature and available data relating to Muslim hatred and identification of prevailing narratives in political and media discourse, and more widely in social media contexts. A research report on each national case study will be produced at the end of workstream one.

Workstream two will begin in June 2017 and will categorise current counter-narratives to Muslim hatred and assess their changing dynamics and context. Compiling and Evaluating Counter-Narratives to Muslim Hatred in each of the eight national case studies in the CIK project will produce a categorical account of counter-narratives to Muslim hatred deployed in political and media discourse, and more widely in social media contexts, together with other official and non-official sources for each national case study.

As of January 2018, the CIK project will produce a transferable EU toolkit of best practice in the use of counter-narratives to Muslim hatred and specific key messages for the member states analysed in this project. Cross-national learning will inform the development of a toolkit of counter-narratives for use across EU member states, and elsewhere, and additionally a summary of Key Action Messages and National Messages will be produced during Workstream three.

Finally, from June 2018 the CIK project will be focused on dissemination of the key messages, findings and counter-Islamophobia toolkit to policy makers, professionals and practitioners both across the European Union and to regional audiences using a range of mediums and activities such as via local and international conferences, and the production of academic journal articles and a monograph.

It is expected that the production of the EU Toolkit, Key Action and Workstream messages, reports and digital outputs will provide an important resource for the development of best practice in countering Muslim hatred for policy makers, professionals and practitioners both across the EU and amongst member state/regional audiences. Systematically identifying, categorising and assessing the range of such narratives and their impact and influence will provide a robust comprehensive evidence base to inform action and intervention.

 

References:

AMELI, S. R. & MERALI, A. 2015. Environment of Hate: The New Normal for Muslims in the UK, London, Islamic Human Rights Commission.

BAYRAKLI, E. & HAFEZ, F. (eds.) 2016. European Islamophobia Report 2015, Istanbul: SETA.

BAYRAKLI, E. & HAFEZ, F. (eds.) 2017. European Islamophobia Report 2016, Istanbul: SETA.

ECRI 2016. Annual Report on ECRI’s Activities. Strasbourg: European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.

SETA, D. 2016. Forgotten Women: The Impact of Islamophobia on Muslim Women. Brussels: ENAR (European Network Against Racism).

SIAN, K., LAW, I. & SAYYID, S. 2013. Racism, Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights, Abingdon, Routledge.