Visible Muslimness in Scotland: Between Discrimination and Integration

Stefano Bonino

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Bonino’s article casts light on the realities and perceptions of ethno- religious discrimination among Muslims in Scotland, with particular reference to those living in Edinburgh, during both everyday social interaction with the indigenous Scottish community, and contact with police and security officers. Discrimination against ethnic minorities in Scotland can be traced back in history; however, it is its post-9/11 multifaceted form that has particularly targeted Muslims qua Muslims in a global climate of distrust and stigmatization. While publicly available statistics show a decrease in racist incidents in Scotland, findings from other studies illustrate a more complex situation in which prejudice and discrimination intermingle in ways that make it hard to quantify the precise extent of anti-Muslim sentiment. Qualitative data collected specifically in Edinburgh suggest that Muslims’ hyper-visibility has triggered ethno-religious discrimination by some members of the non-Muslim majority. However, the daily experiences of life in Scotland, and the social relations with non-Muslims, are more heterogeneous and nuanced; they include overall positive views of, and a certain engagement with, many non-Muslims in a context of relative harmony. Contact with police and security officers at airports constitutes the main area of concern for Scottish Muslims, whose confidence, sense of equality and feelings of belonging to society are severely undermined by the securitization of their ethno-religious difference. The path towards a pluralistic Scottishness rests on sociopolitical and institutional efforts to reduce the discrimination against visible diversity, especially at loci of security, and to include the symbolic and physical distinctiveness of Muslimness within the porous Scottish cultural boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-391
JournalPatterns of Prejudice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2015


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