Veiled bodies — naked racism: culture, politics and race in the Sun

Khiabany, Gholam and Williamson, Milly (2008) Veiled bodies — naked racism: culture, politics and race in the Sun. Race and Class, 50 (2). pp. 69-88. ISSN 0306-3968

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The context in which the current `debate' about Muslim women and the veil is taking place, in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, is that of the new orthodoxy, the `clash of civilisations'. This attempts to explain much of the world's political turmoil in terms of a clash between the (`secular modern') West and the (`traditionalist religion') Islam. The increased visibility of veiled bodies in Britain today has stirred a response that draws on long-standing orientalist oppositions and reworks them in the current climate of the `war on terror', connecting them to parallel racist discourses about `threats' to British culture. Sections of the British media have homogenised the variety of Muslim veiling practices and have presented the veil as an obstacle to meaningful `communication'; an example of Islamic `refusal' to embrace `modernity'. Veiled women are considered to be ungrateful subjects who have failed to assimilate and are deemed to threaten the `British' way of life. This paper reviews the debate over the veil in Britain in the context of British foreign policy, attacks on civil liberties, the further marginalisation of poor communities and the politicisation of British Muslims, where the veil is an increasingly political image of both difference and defiance.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: assimilation Islamophobia multiculturalism Muslim veil niqab war on terror
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Depositing User: Sarah Maddox
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 11:00
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2012 11:00
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