Festival of European Culture 2016
Prof. Dr. Tahir Abbas
Prof. Dr. Tahir Abbas is a Professor of Sociology at Fatih University in Istanbul (2010-present).
Abbas specialises in urban ethnicity and minority-majority relations. Having just completed his book on ethnicity, Islam, and politics in Turkey, he is writing on areas of Islam, Islamism, Islamophobia, radicalisation, identity politics and social conflict in Western European contexts.
Previously, Abbas was Reader in Sociology at Birmingham University (2003-2009), and Senior Research Officer at the Home Office and Ministry of Justice in London (2001-2003). He has held visiting professorships or fellowships at the Remarque Institute of New York University, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, Institute for Religious Studies at Leiden University, Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Iqbal International Institute for Research and Dialogue at the International Islamic University in Islamabad, and the Graduate School of the State Islamic University in Jakarta.
Abbas is the author of The Education of British South Asians (Palgrave-Macmillan), Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics (Routledge) and Contemporary Turkey in Conflict (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming). He has published numerous (co)edited collections with Zed, Edinburgh University Press, IB Tauris, Routledge and Hurst. He has also published in many sociology, education, Islamic studies, geography and political science journals. Abbas has written for The Guardian, Times Higher Education, NZZ, Prospect, openDemocracy, Prospect, New Internationalist and Fair Observer among others.
He has a BSc(Econ) in Economics with Mathematical Studies from Queen Mary University of London, a MSocSc in Economic Development and Policy from the University of Birmingham, and a PhD in Ethnic Relations from the University of Warwick. Abbas is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Fellow of the Muslim Institute, and an Associate Member of the British Association for Islamic Studies.
Migration in Twenty-First Century Western Europe. The Dilemmas of Racism and Islamophobia
In the current climate there is considerable attention paid to the concept of Islamophobia. However, the current political and cultural hegemonic rhetoric focuses on the idea that Islamophobia relating to the fear or dread of Islam is misleading as it takes attention away from the realities facing Muslim communities in urban settings. This paper argues that the prevailing discourse is an attempt to take attention away from patterns of urban racism that have evolved in the light of an international political economy as well as ongoing patterns of ethnic and racial disadvantage that have affected Muslim ethnic minorities in urban multicultures. The ascendant rhetoric disregards discrimination and disadvantage in relation to Muslims objectified and racialised in the sphere of globalisation and localisation. It creates the opportunity for the elite actors to reinforce cultural stereotypes and emphasise cultural relativism and cultural dissonance as the drivers of social problems. Moreover, the dedicated attention given to such topics within Muslim communities does not help to address these concerns in the end. In order to redress the imbalance created by dominant paradigms, Muslim and like-minded other communities with shared interests and motivations ought to take ownership of the concept of Islamophobia from below.