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The racialization of Muslim converts in Britain and their experiences of islamophobia


critical sociologyJournal abstract

This article contributes towards understanding how Islamophobia manifests in the lives of Muslim converts in Britain. The significant relationship between Islamophobia and racialization is highlighted by arguing that before experiencing Islamophobia, ‘white’ converts to Islam are re-racialized as ‘not-quite-white’, or even ‘non-white’, because of a persistent conflation of Islam as a ‘non-white’ religion. The article also seeks to comprehend why Muslims may be so anxious about Islamophobia when they may rarely have experienced Islamophobia themselves. Rather than suggest this is because Muslims are paranoid and because Islamophobia is just a myth, as some have suggested, this article suggests that Islamophobia can be difficult to detect because it often manifests in a discreet manner. It is shown that converts are well placed to expose this ‘subtle Islamophobia’ because their intimate and regular contact with non-Muslims makes them particularly susceptible to frank remarks about their Muslim identity.

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