Chapter III: Orthodoxy v Heterodoxy

From Muhammad bin Muslim who said, “I asked (Imam) Abu Ja`far (al-Baqir) about the murtad [infidel].” He said, “Whoever turns away from Islam and rejects what has been revealed to Muhammad after he had been a Muslim, then there is no repentance for him; rather it is obligatory to kill him; and his wife should separate from him, and his wealth should be distributed among his heirs (Sarwar 2007:256) .
This chapter examines the issue of polarisation within the Muslim community, analysing the internal dissenters in an orthodoxy-heterodoxy type-paradigm. This internal Muslim crisis will be highlighted through the fate of prominent dissenters, through opposition of Islamist Blasphemy laws – as demonstrated through the killing of Pakistani Governor Salman Taseer, through perceived heresy – as evidenced in the murder of Glasgow’s Ahmadiyyah Asad Shah and through apostasy; most notably in the current imprisonment of Saudi Arabia’s Raif Badawi, unusually propelling the issue of apostasy into the international media. Statistical data, in the form of surveys undertaken in the Islamic world will be utilised in order to show that the overwhelming support for the death penalty and Sharia law, a politicised Islamic jurisdiction system derived from a literal interpretation of the Quran, is not just adhered by Muslim nations. Instead, globalisation enables British Muslim communities to stay informed of the grievances or issues of salience in their countries of origin, perpetuating an attachment of Islamic ideals over British values throughout factions of Muslims, which essentially intensifies the Cultural Defence. Consequently, internal heterodoxy against the predominant orthodox nature of such Muslim communities is silenced, suppressed and in extreme cases, murdered.
3.1 The Internal Muslim Crisis
The religious fundamentalism behind the Cultural Defence has directly created the orthodoxy versus heterodoxy paradox, in which the former’s rigid and dogmatic belief that it remains fundamentally incompatible with differing ideologies, also applies to the internal Islamic structure. Whilst the purpose of inter-faith and multi-faith rhetoric and institutions is to engage Islamic beliefs with other religions across Britain and to encourage a better perspective of Muslims from an external standpoint; currently there exists a significant lack of understanding of the internal, differing Islamic ideologies – nor does a prolific and vastly-connected liaising forum function between the mainstream Sunni branch of Islam and alternative sects.
Kymlica (1995) posits a challenge to the correlation between the Cultural Defence and Orthodoxy/Heterodoxy paradox. In utilising Taylor’s (1994) Politics of Recognition he advocates a theory of cultural liberalism in contrast to a cultural defence in stating that ‘minority rights are compatible with cultural liberalism when a) individual freedom is protected within the group and b) they promote equality and not domination between groups’ (Kymlica 1995: 153). However, Kymlica’s (1995) reference to a cultural liberalism proves to be rather utopianist when applies to the British Muslim community; particularly when considering the conditions upon which the (Sunni) cultural defence was formed.
The feeling of being scapegoated by an external, imperialist, non-Muslim hierarchy, reinforces this Islamic sub-culture which is therefore arguably less tolerant of internal strife, such as acts or speeches deemed blasphemous to mainstream Sunni beliefs or cases of apostasy – all of which are perceived as threats to the attempt of uniting the Ummah. Microcosm realism therefore, in the form of community security politics takes precedent within this inflexible socio-religious framework, in which the determination of individualism is worth comparatively less against the wider autonomy of communitarianism. This runs parallel to ‘cosmopolitanism’ or ‘reflexive thinking’ (Giddens 1999) which espouses tolerance to all views and beliefs within the community.
The issue of blasphemy continues to remain highly topical and deeply contentious in not only the Islamic world but within the Muslim diaspora as evidenced in the European cartoon depictions of Muhammad and the Salman Rushdie affair. The latest Pew research centre analysis on the criminalisation of blasphemy reveals that 26% of the globe’s countries and territories hold anti-blasphemy laws and policies (Pew, 2016), concentrated across the Middle East and North African (MENA) regions and South Asia.
The Blasphemy Question is fuelled by deep intolerance and heightened sensitivity towards a perceived attack on Allah, Muhammad and/or the Koran, as demonstrated in the ‘US court order that Youtube remove the Innocence of Muslims film, due to its negative portrayal of Muhammad’ (The Legal Project, 2014) . In recent years, the violence now almost synonymous with the globalised anti-blasphemy campaigns, demonstrations and vengeance has gained momentum; whether witnessed in the 2014 torching of a Lebanese library ‘after pamphlets were found, insulting to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad’ (Spencer 2014:1 ), or in the ongoing Bangladesh blogger murders – the latest murder reported to be the hacking of Xulhaz Mannan in Dhaka, in April 2016 (Washington Post, 2016).
However, it was the 2015 killing of Farkhunda Malikzada in Afghanistan, of which the accusation of burning copies of the Koran, culminated in a mob frenzied lynching and subsequent burning of her body; spilling across global headlines as yet another harrowing reminder of the intolerant attitude towards ‘dissenters’, or ‘blasphemers’ against the increased orthodoxy of factions of Muslim communities in the context of preserving the sanctity of Islam.
3.2 Tainted with Blasphemy: From Pakistan to the UK
A poignant example of the orthodoxy/heterodoxy paradox within the British Muslim community lies in the March 2016 murder of Glasgow shopkeeper, Asad Shah by Tanveer Ahmed of Bradford. The BBC (2016) investigation into the incident concluded that ‘the accused’s consistent and repeated account as to his motivation for murdering Asad Shah was that Shah claimed to be a prophet, which so offended his feelings and his faith that he had to kill him’ (BBC, 2016), yet context of the Sunni versus Ahmadiyya conflict is key to understanding the wider persecution of the minority Islamic sect, before addressing the implications of blasphemy which drove Ahmed to murder Shah.
The religious conflict between the Ahmadiyya Muslims and ‘main-stream’ Islam is as old as the establishment of this movement in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908) in the late nineteenth century and given its rejection of Muhammad as the final Prophet of Islam, have relentless persecution in Pakistan –‘ since 1974, the Ahmadi population in Pakistan has fallen from several million to 400,000 , including the massacre of approximately 100 people by the Taliban in Lahore in 2010’ (Guardian 2016). Contentions and internal strife between the two sects are ongoing, with the Sunni branch condemning the Ahmadi, so much so that in 1974, Pakistani prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, introduced a constitutional amendment that declared Ahmadi to be non-Muslims.
In the wake of the Glasgow murder, Mezzofiore (2016), reporting in Mashable UK stated that representatives of the Glasgow Central Mosque and the Muslim Council of Scotland shunned the launch of an anti-extremism campaign in Scotland organised by Ahmadis, which the
Ahmadi claim that decision reflects a general attitude of scepticism in the Sunni Muslim community towards them… many in mainstream Islam still believe the group does not belong in extended family…the message of hate is spreading and affecting Ahmadi children. And sectarianism doesn’t just stop at Ahmadi, it also affects Shia and other Muslims sects. (Mashable UK, 2016).
Moreover, the April 2016 discovery of ‘kill Ahmadiyya’ (BBC, 2016) leaflets in Stockwell Green mosque, propagating Khatme Nubuwwat rhetoric –an established anti-Ahmadi ideological organisation is further indication of the intolerance towards heterogeneous Muslim sects within the wider Islamic framework. However, it is imperative to note that the murder of Shah very much remains a case of blasphemy, of which his killer’s motive must be placed in correlation with the institutionalisation of Section 295 of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Penal Code.
The infamous imprisonment of Pakistan’s Aasiya Bibi, originally jailed in 2009 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad perhaps stands as the global symbol of Islamic blasphemy, as she awaits to potentially become the first nation’s first case of execution via the Penal code. Bibi’s imprisonment must be contextualised within the systematic application of the Penal code, examined by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a 1991 Amnesty International report, stating that ’34 people were charged in 2013 alone, with at least 16 people currently reported on death row for blasphemy and 20 serving life sentences’ (Amnesty International 1994: 15).
However, the reaction to the murder of Punjabi Governor’s Salman Taseer, an outspoken critic of the ordeal of Aasiya Bibi and Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws in 2011 and the following reaction to the hanging of the perpetrator is crucial to the understanding of Asad Shah’s murder in 2016. Taseer’s murder demonstrated the level of religiosity amongst Pakistani Muslims, as seen through Qadri being
‘showered with rose petals and kissed by lawyers at his first court appearance with the judge who convicted Qadri having to flee the country… a mosque in Islamabad was named in honour of Qadri and the country’s army chief at the time reportedly told western ambassadors he could not publicly condemn him because too many of his soldiers sympathised with the killer‘ (2016: 1) .
Ayesha Nasir, writing in the TIME newspaper stated Taseer’s opposition to the blasphemy laws was hugely unpopular among a large segment of Pakistanis, an example of which is evident through ‘a statement issued by Jamaat Ahle Sunnat, a prominent religious organization that represents the Barelvi movement of Sunni Muslims, urging Pakistanis not to express regret over Taseer’s murder’ (Nasir 2016: 1 TIME). Furthermore, Aljazeera (2016) cited the statement released by Tahir Iqbal Chistie, president of the Sunni Tehreek organisation:
“At this time, the sentiments of all Muslims have been injured, and our feelings have been badly hurt. For any Muslim believer – no matter what school of thought he belongs to…he sent to hell a person who showed disrespect for the holy Prophet. What he did was according to the orders of the Quran…’ (Aljazeera 2016).
Yet the lack of remorse felt by the Islamist factions of Pakistan is a sharp contrast to the outpour of outrage at Qadri’s death sentence in early 2016, with news of his hanging provoking thousands to protest and stand in solidarity as witnessed through the ‘#IamMumtazQadri , which became one of the top trends on Twitter on the day of his funeral’ (Kilji 2016:1). This detailed and recent contextualisation is imperative to note as the notion of this blasphemous mentality is not confined to Pakistan’s Muslims, rather it is accepted by factions of British Pakistanis as one example of the religious Cultural Defence.
For example, the National Secular Society highlighted the public affiliation of Bradford-based Imam Muhammad Asim Hussain with Qadri’s murder in his following Facebook post: ‘today is a dark day in the history of Pakistan; the day … Mumtaz [Qadri] was wrongfully executed and martyred in the way of Allah, when he did what he did in honour of the Prophet’ (National Secular Society 2016) generating nearly 4,000 likes out of his 100,000 followers. The timing of Quadri’s execution came one month prior to Bradford’s Tanveer Ahmed murder of Asad Shah, a blatant indication of globalised Islamic orthodoxy, which inspires killing in the of blasphemy and against heterodoxy in Muslim communities from Pakistan to the UK.
3.3 State reaction to Apostasy in the Muslim world
When engaged in the orthodoxy versus heterodoxy debate, the subject of murtad , or apostasy is fundamentally important since this act of the renunciation of the Islamic faith signifies the epitome of heterodoxy within the Islamic world or Muslim communities, demonstrating the blatant refusal to comply with the Islamic system of life and therefore an affront to the Cultural Defence. The issue of apostasy is generally unknown in the non-Muslim world in spite of significant Muslim minorities, most probably because the diaspora are typically unwilling to engage in what has generally become a taboo topic given the connotations of dishonour and embarrassment internal, Islamic disagreements introduce to communities striving for a united front; particularly in western/European political contexts in which factions of the Muslim community feel they are continuously striving to display positive imagery of Islam.
Whilst there is no explicit reference to murtad in the Koran, there are indeed scriptural implications which provide theological hostility and intolerance to dissenters or deserters of the Islamic message. For example, Sura 9:73 -74 states:
Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home: an evil fire. They swear by God that they said nothing. Yet they uttered the word of unbelief and renounced Islam after embracing it.. If they repent, it will indeed be better for them, but if they give no heed, God will sternly punish them, both in this world and in the world to come
Furthermore, Sura 47:23-28 states:
If you renounced the faith, you would surely do evil in the land, and violate the ties of blood. Such are those on whom God has laid His curse, leaving them deaf and sightless…. Those who return to unbelief after God’s guidance has been revealed to them are seduced by Satan and inspired by him….
The selected verses of the Koran delivering instruction as to how renouncers of the faith should be perceived and the proclamation of predestined hellfire for those who do not share the same religious belief, provides the very theological contextual basis for Islamic polities globally. The idea that those who ‘renounce the faith would surely do evil in the land and violate the ties of blood’ is indeed a common insecurity for those Islamic states who pre-eminently criminalise apostasy or instil laws that officiate Islam as the sole religion; as evidenced in Malaysia and the Maldives for example. This sura versus also feeds into the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ paradigm, therefore enabling a perception that internal dissenters and/or apostates are traitorous and therefore a deep offence to the sanctity of Islam.
The Pew Research Centre conducted a survey predominantly across Muslim countries of most global regions, in order to gauge the level of strict adherence to a literal interpretation of Islam, one key tenet being the belief and desire to be governed by Sharia law; of which Hudud (death sentence) is currently proscribed to apostasy in the Islamic world . Figure 4 explicitly analyses the percentage of Muslims who believe in execution for apostasy to another religion. Such ‘measures were in effect in more than half the countries in the Middle East-North Africa region (11 of 20, or 55%) as well as in five of the 50 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (10%) and four of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (8%)’ (Pew Research Centre 2013: 55) only exempting Europe and the American regions.
The main findings of the report found that 84% of Pakistani, 82% of Bangladeshi, 99% of Afghan and 91% of Iraqi  participants believe that sharia law should replace the official law of their respective nations and this is crucial to note. Given that the primary focus of the dissertation aims to analyse the Apostasy from Islam situation in the United Kingdom, there are significant numbers of the ‘Pakistani (370, 779), Bangladeshi (142, 718) and Middle Eastern (178, 195) ‘ (The Muslim Council of Britain, 2011: 24) diasporas that despite residing in Britain, continue to revere sharia law albeit mostly within segregated Muslim communities. This will be illustrated through the case examples of British ex-Muslim experiences in Chapters 5 and 6. Specifically examining British Muslim opinion regarding Sharia law, the Policy Exchange think tank conducted a survey of 1,000 participants in 2007, concluding that despite 59% of Muslims who would prefer to live under British law, compared with 28% who would prefer to live under Sharia law, ‘37% of 16-24 year olds prefer Sharia compared with 17% of over-55s’ ( Mirza, Senthilkumaran, Ja’far 2007:5 ) .
Furthermore, out of the 1,000 participants, ‘86% of Muslims feel that religion is the most important thing in their life, with 36% of 16 to 24-year-olds believing that should a Muslim convert to another religion, he/she should be punished by death, compared with 19% of over-55s’ (Mirza, Senthilkumaran, Ja’far 2007:5). Placing these results (albeit slightly outdated) into the larger context and more recent Pew findings of the orthodoxy versus heterodoxy paradigm, it is evident that the attachment and preference for religiosity – of which Sharia law is one tenet of such – indicating therefore the severe plight of especially apostates in their ultimate renunciation of the faith.
3.4 The case of Apostasy in the international media
The phenomenon of apostasy remains largely unknown in particularly the non-Muslim world, only recently transitioning into the spotlight mainly through human rights groups, religious advocacy or non-governmental organisations. Very rarely do cases of apostasy break out into the national and international spotlight, primarily because of the blatant offence, dishonour and ostracisation of those apostate individuals.
The infamous Lina Joy versus Majlis Agama Islam (2007) Malaysian case is an excellent example of the orthodoxy versus heterodoxy struggle with specific regards to apostasy. The constitutional definition of the Malay race is synonymous with Islamic belief, thereby making the act of conversion to another religion illegal; or at the very least exceptionally difficult. Yet Malaysia’s constitution ‘does not impose any restriction on a person’s right or capacity to accept or reject any religion, including the religion of Islam, as religious freedom enshrined under Article 11 (1) of the Constitution is available to Muslims and non-Muslims alike’ (Saeed & Saeed 2004: 153). The legal implications of Joy’s case suggests otherwise.
Joy’s (whose original birth name is Azlina Jailani), conversion to Christianity required authentication by the state, in applying ‘ first to the National Registration Department (NRD) and then the Court of Appeal to remove “Islam” (as her official religion) from her identity papers’ (Catholic News, 2007) in order for her marriage to her Christian boyfriend to become legitimised in accordance with state law.
However, the application of Sharia law upon all Islamic matters denied Joy the right to remove Islam from her religious identity card. In concluding the case, Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim stated that ‘you can’t at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another,’ (Reuters 2007). The implications of the case set a precedent for apostasy from Islam in a Malaysian context, where the latest Sharia Hudud Bill that passed in the Kelantan state in March 2015, proved that apostasy, in addition to other Islamic ‘crimes’ could now in extreme cases enact the death penalty.
Perhaps the prevailing example of heterodoxy within a Muslim context is the 2012 imprisonment of Raif Badawi, who is heralded as the symbol of apostasy through the international furore and human rights led opposition and outcry at his ordeal by the Saudi government, as he awaits his possible execution. Badawi’s Free Saudi Liberals blog, ‘violates Islamic values and propagates liberal thought’ (Raif Badawi Foundation, 2012) through espousing liberal/secular rhetoric such as ‘you have the right to express and think whatever you want as you have the right to declare what you think about it, it is your right to believe or think, have the right to love and to hate, from your right to be a liberal or Islamist’ (Independent, 2015).
The International Business Times reported a facebook statement by Badawi’s family :
Due to a new regulation issued by the Supreme Judicial Council on 19th September 2014 , the Penal court has now jurisdiction over major cases, which are punishable by the death penalty, amputation and stoning. We have reasons to believe without any doubts that the judge has again asked the Head of the Court of Appeal to charge Raif with ‘Apostasy’ (International Business Times, 2015).
In conclusion, it is evident that heterodoxy within a Muslim context is largely unacceptable. The cases of Malaysia’s Lina Joy and the ongoing deliberations concerning the fate of Raif Badawi are two examples of the extremity of intolerance of heterogeneity against the systematic governance and application of orthodoxy in the Muslim world. Yet it is important to note that this psyche of Islamic religiosity is not confined to Muslim countries, as the creation of the Cultural Defence within a Western context holds its roots in this very psyche and application of strict, Sharia practices. Fundamentally, apostasy is a globalised phenomenon, existing as the extremity of heterodoxy throughout Muslim communities yet it is fundamentally a rare phenomenon and a taboo, partly silenced by the overarching orthodox hierarchy and partly silenced by the potentially brutal consequences individuals face, should news of his/her renunciation of faith and/or conversion to another religion surface.

Chapter II: The Multiculturalism Backlash

I inform the proud Muslim people of the world that the author of the Satanic Verses book, which is against Islam, the Prophet and the Koran and all those involved in its publication, who were aware of its content, are sentenced to death. 
Ayatollah Khomeini (London Evening Standard, February 14, 1989)
This chapter examines the failures of assimilative policies for ethnic minorities, explicitly with regards to Muslims in the wake of the 1989 Salman Rushdie affair, in which Muslim previous identification with ‘non-whiteness’ converted to a strengthened perception of an Islamic identity; marking a departure with a shared identity with other non-white, immigrant and ethnic minorities. The chapter will highlight the British Muslim community’s push for an Islamic agenda, with data to indicate the rise of religiosity and attachment to Muslim ideals, making reference to the depleting levels of Christianity and examples of de-Christianisation within wider Europe and the United Kingdom. The chapter will finally introduce the concept of the Cultural Defence, in which the anger at British political reaction to the Salman Rushdie affair marked the beginning of a notable retreat into internal, Muslim communities, before concluding that parallel systems have since been created within the larger, British society.
2.1 From Race to Religion
The impassioned Muslim campaign against the publication of Rushdie’s Satanic Verses set a precedent for British race-relations, minorities and multiculturalist politics, in addition to redefining the Muslim identity through the Cultural Defence. The sense of a collective British identity in a decolonised, egalitarian multiculturalism context, is challenged on many fronts, perhaps most notably however in the Parekh (2000) Report on The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. Parekh (2000) argues that:
‘Britishness as much as Englishness has systematic racial connotations; Whiteness nowhere features as an explicit condition of being British, but it is widely understood that Englishness and therefore by extension, Britishness is racially coded’ (Parekh 2000: 38).
Parekh (2000) alludes to this sense of institutionalised colonialism which is a reaction to the racial rhetoric espoused by Enoch Powell in stating ‘the West Indian or Asian does not, by being born in England become an Englishman. In law he becomes a United Kingdom citizen by birth; in fact he is a West Indian or Asian still’ (Powell in Smithies & Fiddick 1969: 77) . This concept of ‘Britishness’ remains current within domestic politics, where:
‘Politicians stress the need to reassert ‘‘core values’’ against those thought at odds with them. There is alarm about ghettoization, communal separatism, exclusion and demands that immigrants learn English and declare their loyalty to the nation-state in which they reside; rather than the one whence they came and with which many retained significant ties’ (Grillo in Vertovec & Wessendorf 2010: 53).
This condition of fear in which the extremities of right-wing politics feeds upon, is the context in which the infamous race riots of St Pauls (1980),Brixton (1981, 1985), Toxeth (1981), Chapeltown (1981) , Moss Side (1981) and Handsworth (1985) took place. It is important to note that religion was not considered an issue – rather a matter of race, evidenced by numerous reactionary organisations such as the Coordinating Community Against Racial Discrimination, Black People’s Alliance and Asian Youth Movement, which repeatedly banded together around cross-cultural issues such as ‘racial attacks, police brutality, housing discrimination’ (Lentin, Alana, Titley, Gavan 2011 :22) at a time where ethnicity and non-whiteness was a common denominator and therefore solidified as a bloc-identity across the spectrum of Commonwealth immigrants.
Thus, the publication of the Satanic Verses in 1989 was therefore a watershed moment in British multicultural politics, signalling an irrevocable departure from the collective ethnic-bloc identity and replacing it with an ‘identity versus identification’ (Findlay, Hoy, Stockdale 2004: 75) struggle, as factions of Muslims utilised the Cultural Defence as a justification tool for the disregard for freedom of speech. The violent reactionary campaign entrenched the phenomenon of Islamic fundamentalism, officially questioning whether egalitarian multiculturalism was applicable within the UK; with a specific focus on Muslims. The infamous public burning of the Verses triggered deep symbolism of intolerance that swept across most of the Islamic world and Muslim diaspora, producing the very conditions in which British newspapers and televisions almost unanimously condemned the fundamentalism of Britain’s Muslims.
The re-emergence of internal British imperialist undertones in addressing the Salman Rushdie Affair provided the very foundations for an ideological shift, overturning the ethnic identification with race and replacing it with religion. Political commentary and opinion in the aftermath of the Affair now directed its condemnation towards the Muslim community. Home Secretary Douglas Hurd and Minister John Patten led the forefront of such condemnation in stating that ‘one cannot be British on one’s own exclusive terms or on a selective basis’ (Independent July 20, 1989). Furthermore in a letter entitled ‘Dangers of the Muslim campaign’ the Independent stated:
The present government does not often forcefully represent the views of left-of-centre intellectuals…but the recent observation of John Patten, Minister of State at the Home Office, responsible for Race Relations, on the need for the Muslim community to integrate with British society; have broadly echoed the view of liberal opinions… if Britain’s more extreme Muslims ignore Patten’s advice and continue to adopt hardline positions, they are likely to turn educated, as well as popular sentiments against them’ (Independent, 1989).
Asad (1990) challenges the implications behind the frequentative rhetoric of liberty and ‘Britishness’, believing the political elite to patronise the Muslim community upon the further release of the ‘On Being British’ document. He cites the work of Culls and Dodds’ (1987) Englishness, Politics and Culture who state: ‘the Tory government and ‘liberal opinion’ in Britain sensed a danger, a perceived threat to a particular ideological structure, a cultural hierarchy organised around an essential Englishness, which defines British identity’ (Culls & Dodds 1987: 21).
The recycling of internal colonisation and psyche of patriarchal subjugation feeds into the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ paradigm within the Muslim community, into a context of historical institutionalised racial tensions and inequality. Ultimately therefore, the denouncing of the global Islamic reaction to the Satanic Verses, at a time where Iran’s Ayatollah had issued a fatwa to the Umma in killing Rushdie, and the refusal to adhere to British Muslim calls to apply blasphemy legislation to cases of defamation to Islam inevitably paved way for the religious Cultural Defence, in addition to creating a polarisation of left and right wing politics in relation to how Islam is portrayed in Britain and wider Europe.
This creation of an Islamic sub-culture, as an alternative system of governance within an overarching framework of British norms, complies with the work of Gilroy (2000 ) and Bhabha (1989), who fundamentally argue that egalitarian multiculturalism cannot effectively be implemented as ‘culture is not a fixed and impermeable feature of social relations. They have been able to detach cultural practises from their origins and use them to found and extend the new pattern of metacommunication which gives their community substance and collective identity’ (Gilroy 2000 :217) Gilroy’s theory of fluid, transnational cultural attachment and affiliation fits well with those factions of especially segregated Muslim communities across Britain who have proven unwilling to assume ‘Britishness’ wholly, to the extent where unflattering depictions and literature of their Prophet is not permissible in accordance with western enshrined freedom of expression.
Moreover, Bhahba (1989) applies this to the Salman Rushdie affair:
Salman Rushdie sees the emergence of doubt, questioning and even confusion as being part of that cultural ‘’excess’’ that facilitates the formation of new social identities that do not appeal to a pure and settled past, or to a unicultural present, in order to authenticate themselves. The authority lies in the attempt to articulate emergent, hybrid forms of cultural identity’ (Bhahba 1989: 45).
The notion of a hybrid cultural identity with regards to British multiculturalism has undergone a mutation to specifically include faith-based multiculturalism, evident in the 1997 establishment of Islamic faith schools for example and acknowledging racism through a religious proxy ; most notably by revamping of previous Racial Acts to the current 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act. Modood (2003) emphasises the instrumental role the Satanic Verses played in the enshrining of anti-Muslim discrimination, contending that this ideological, left-wing shift was not a top-bottom enforcement, but reflected the increasing demand to recognise religion as a public and private indispensable identity reference.
2.2 The de-Christianisation of the United Kingdom/Europe
The rise of the Muslim Cultural Defence must be placed within two contexts: the first against the backdrop of a general de-Christianisation of Europe, in which Islam has plugged the religious vacuum and the second is the political polarisation of left and right wing attitudes towards the public expansion of the Islamic Question. Both conditions has served to facilitate Muslim consciousness of their cultural-religious identity.
The process of post-modernity throughout Europe is continuous and current, recently and infamously demonstrated through the European Court of Human Right’s (ECHR) 2010 Lautsi versus Italy ruling which prompted debate as to whether crucifixes in Italian schools should be permissible, as the presence of them ‘violates a child’s right to freedom of religion’ (Martin 2009:1). This challenge to traditional Italian practises set a precedent for all European Union (EU) member states, questioning the conventional display of Christian symbolism within public institutions.
This set an inexorable trend, as evidenced in the 2014 Travelodge removal of King James Bibles (Daily Mail 2014) in the UK and the rise in cases of Christian discrimination in the workplace. The 2004 case of Lillian Ladele who claimed Islington Council discriminated against her in her refusal to conduct civil partnerships and the 2006 case of Nadia Ewedia, who was informed by British Airways that her crucifix necklace violated uniform code (BBC, 2013) are illustrative of the preference for secularity in Britain and wider Europe, particularly since such discrimination directly contravenes the Equality Act 2010 which theoretically guarantees religious protection under UK equality opportunity laws in addition to existing international legal provisions.
Such examples of de-Christianisation is framed within the ‘Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is’ (Bingham & Swinford 2015:1) rhetoric. The release of Baroness Butler-Sloss’ Commission on Religion and Belief in Public Life (2015) effectively summarises that ‘the decline of churchgoing and the rise of Islam and other faiths means a ‘’new settlement’’ is needed for religion in the UK, giving more official influence to non-religious voices and those of non-Christian faiths’ (Telegraph 2015)
Further to the Commission’s findings, the British Humanist Association (BHA) conducted a religious survey across Britain in 2009, entitled ‘What is your religion?’ with 61% of participants opting for a religious option (53.5% Christian, 7.2% non-Christian) , whilst 39% considered themselves not religious.
In 2015, the Yougov poll conducted a repeat of the BHA survey, thereby discovering 49% of participants regarding themselves to be religious whilst 42% did not. The Church of England is experiencing a plummet in church membership, from 40.3% in 1983 to 16.3% in 2014 ( BHA,2014), yet the belief in modernity and secularity in Europe cannot be wholly applied to Islam, ‘which rejects a dualistic worldview that would compartmentalise areas of life into the religious/sacred versus the sacred/profane. Islam will not readily acquiesce to the privatisation of belief and practise that Christians have undergone’ (Leigh 2013 :5) and this demonstrated in the rise of Islamic institutions in contrast to the decline of Christian places of worship.
2.4 The Cultural Defence
The European/Western trauma triggered by the events of 9/11 manifested itself through the increase of polarised left or right-wing ‘camps’, in addition to legitimising these political definitions or labels in specific relation to Muslims. The ‘leftist’ camp applies sensitivity towards ‘Muslim’ issues, or reports of acts of criminality which bears correlation to the Muslim community- whether through fear of being accused of being racist and/or Islamophobic, or a genuine refusal to align religion with the actions of individuals or groups. In opposition, the ‘rightist’ camp tends to perceive Muslims as incompatible with western values and therefore a threat to internal security; yet both ‘camps’ have directly facilitated the solidification of the Cultural Defence through feeding into the existing psyche of Muslim consciousness.
The 2014 Trojan Horse scandal is a prolific example of the Muslim Cultural Defence, in which the Birmingham city council conducted an investigation concluding that:
‘the evidence shows individuals have been seeking to promote and encourage Islamic principles in the schools with which they are involved, by seeking to introduce Islamic collective worship or raising objections to elements of the school curriculum that are viewed as anti-Islamic’ (Huffington Post, 2014).
In addition to this statement, former Metropolitan counter-terrorism chief Peter Clarke and the Department of Education concluded that Trojan Horse was a sustained co-ordinated agenda to impose segregationist attitudes and practices of a hard-line, politicised strain of Sunni Islam (Huffington Post, 2014 ).
It is imperative to note the timing and context in which the Trojan Horse-scandal emerged, which plays an instrumental role in the mentality behind the Muslim Cultural Defence. The employment of counter-terrorism experts and rhetoric in the events of Trojan Horse must be analysed within the wider ‘Islam versus western compatibility’ framework where in 200? Chancellor Merkel disregarded European multiculturalism ‘as Muslim immigrants have kept their own languages, religious and cultural habits, thereby creating sub-worlds’ (Cesari 2013: 7). Britain’s Cameron also voiced the dangers to successful integration in his 2011 radicalisation and Islamic extremism speech:
The biggest threat that we face comes from terrorist attacks, some of which are, sadly, carried out by our own citizens… In the UK , some young men find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practiced at home by their parents, whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries. But these young men also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity. Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream. We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values’ (Cabinet Office, 2011).
Cameron’s critique of factions of disaffected Muslims comes after the swarm of Islamist attacks on traditional European norms, inevitably creating a paradigm of ‘us’ versus ‘them’ which has been influential in the formation of the Cultural Defence. The 2004 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh the 2005 Jyllands-Posten Muhammed cartoons in Denmark, the 2007 Lars Vilks Muhammad cartoons in Sweden, the latest Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2010, 2012 and 2015 are all illustrative of the necessity to safeguard Islamic honour and ideals over European enshrined freedom of expression, conscience and speech.
This rejection of European ideals by a fundamental faction of Muslims is espoused in the 2006 Policy exchange report Living together apart: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism , where ‘there is strong evidence of growing religiosity among young Muslims, with an increasing minority firmly rejecting Western life’ (Mirza, Senthilkumaran, Ja’far 2007:3) of which ‘Forty per cent of Muslims between the ages of 16 and 24 said they would prefer to live under sharia law in Britain, a legal system based on the teachings of the Koran. The figure among over-55s, in contrast, was only 17 per cent’ (Telegraph 2007: 1).
Such evidence of clear preference for Islamic cultural beliefs, over the adherence of national and international laws of the host countries in which they reside, leaves sections of Muslim communities torn between the countries in which they live and the western foreign policies towards the Islamic world which they oppose. The Muslim News states there are 13 Muslim Members of Parliament, out of a total of 650 seats in the House of Commons and across a population of 2 million Muslim citizens, thus leading to a sense of political unrepresentation (Nachmani 2010), frustration and sense of powerlessness, most shockingly demonstrated in the speech Michael Adebolajo upon his murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby:
We have killed this man today because Muslims are dying daily because of British soldiers…we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands? Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? Rather, you are extreme (ITV News, Youtube 2013).
This impassioned affiliation with the Western-afflicted grievances on the Islamic Umma (community) is frequently demonstrated through campaigns and protests in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, with reactionary organisations such as the British Muslim Initiative and the support for anti-Israel politicians, crucially influential in the election of West-Bradford Respect party candidate George Galloway. The infamous declaration of Bradford as a ‘no-Israel zone’ upon the 2014 Israeli ambassador’s UK visit resulted in numerous rioting across Tesco chains, following Galloway’s comments:
We don’t want any Israeli goods, we don’t want any Israeli services, we don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college, we don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so (Guardian 2014).
Yet whilst the ‘rightist’ camp has solidified the concept of Muslim consciousness and/or this religious Cultural Defence through the posit of Islam’s incompatibility with the West, the ‘leftist’, camp assumes a more apologist approach, raising the banner of Islamophobia through sensitivity in reporting news applicable to Muslim communities; also feeds into the Cultural Defence complex. The revisiting of the Trojan Horse scandal in April 2016, in which the latest inspection report praises how
fundamental British values are promoted highly effectively…innovative project work and initiatives facilitated through these partnerships have enabled pupils to explore in depth such issues as the dangers of radicalisation and extremism, the impact of the Holocaust and anti-semitism, and equal opportunities, including those related to sexuality and gender (Guardian 2016).
It is interesting to note the stress made upon Muslim pupils engaging with Semitism, homosexual and equal sex opportunities, topics traditionally disregarded or disrespected when assuming a literal translation of Islam; an emphatic ideological break with the radical history of the same school in 2014. Furthermore, on the issue of sexual gang grooming, The Jay report into the failings of Rotherham states:
“By far the majority of perpetrators were described as Asian by victims, yet throughout the entire period, councillors did not engage directly with the Pakistani-heritage community to discuss how best they could jointly address the issue… the 27 court cases that we found led to the convictions of 92 men. Some 79 (87%) were reported as being of South Asian Muslim origin’ (Channel 4: 2014).
The overt avoidance of highlighting the specific ethnicity of the general perpetrators -and then perhaps naturally the religious factor -indicates a sensitivity and unwillingness to perhaps be labelled Islamophobic and add further insult to injury to the Pakistani community, which is a recognition of the Muslim Cultural Defence.
In conclusion it is important to recognise that both ‘leftist’ and ‘rightist’ camps have created the very conditions in which Muslim consciousness has become both cemented and resistant to the frequent discussions of the role, contribution, effect and place Islam holds in Britain and wider Europe. This has resulted in an ideological retreat into the very communities that understand and offer a sense of immediate belonging whenever the external extremities of either political ‘camp’ instil a sense of alienation in which comfort can only be found in the Cultural Defence, thereby creating parallel communities and systems of governments within the British community and system.

Thesis Chapter I: Literature Review

                               Yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights [to religious freedom] hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind and that if any act shall be hereafter passed to repeal [an act granting those religious rights]; or to narrow its operation, such act shall be an      infringement of natural right. (Thomas Jefferson, 1779:1)
The concept of freedom of religion is one of antiquity, as is the philosophical, sociological and political literature that debate the theoretical significance religious freedom holds, as an attribute of liberal democracies. Yet for the purpose of the dissertation, this chapter aims to analyse the relevance of religious freedom to modern liberal democracy, utilising the work of prominent libertarians during the Age of Enlightenment from 18th Century Europe as a starting point. The chapter will firstly establish a correlation between freedom of religion and the development of the very liberal democratic conditions existing and functioning in a post-1945 Europe, before challenging the congruity of religion through the secularisation theory/thesis; which fundamentally argues that the rise of secularism in Europe in the aftermath of the World Wars, has rendered religion obsolete –and therefore the debate concerning religious freedom is inapplicable to ‘European exceptionalism’. Finally, the chapter will advocate the re-emergence of religion, using the proliferation of Islam throughout Europe via the entrenchment of Multiculturalism as a case example and thereby proving that the free practise of religion is most relevant in an era of post-secular, European societies to conclude that religion continues to be of salience and relevance to modern Europe; as the historical focus on Christianity alone in a western context is inapplicable to a current region with a pluralism of religion.
1.1 The Relevance of Freedom of Religion in 21st Century Europe
Perhaps the notion of freedom of religion continues to exist in current political and intellectual debates and literature, due it to its contribution towards the very civil liberalism that characterises modern European democracy. Fowler (1989) believes that liberalism and religion can be regarded as unconventional partners, fundamentally alluding to a co-operative dichotomy in which religion provides the moral and cultural underpinnings for a liberal society. This is particularly applicable to Europe, as classical liberalism emerged from a set of ideas rooted in Christian ideology, specifically seeking to derive a set of norms stemming from the belief in the dignity and freedom of each individual. This paved way for a conception ‘of democracy based on the Christian view of humanity’ (Grabow 2011: 7).
Although the coinage of liberal democracy precedes 17th/18th Century European libertarian literature, key thinkers such as Locke (1689) and Mill (1859 ) argued in favour of religious freedom, necessary for a cohesive and civil state. This concept of ‘toleration’ which rose to prominence in John Locke’s (1689 ) Letter of Toleration essentially advocates for the plurality of religions , which would reduce the natural domination of one belief and thereby create political stability.
Yet, this promotion of individual equality by way of religious freedom within a state fails to recognise the divisive element to religion and its natural, intermittent desire to compete and conflict with opposing ideologies. Thomas Hobbes (1660) in opposition to Locke (1689 ) believes that the religious emphasis of certitude in one’s belief and totality of commitment to God creates the very political instability evidenced in the Religious Wars of Europe. In this sense religion can be regarded as a source of political instability, in contrast to the rhetoric of Locke (1689) and Mill (1859).
However such libertarians converge or diverge on the political prowess freedom of religion should acquire in both the public and private sphere, the fact remains that religious freedom per se has emerged an inalienable right. The Peace of Westphalia 1648 sparked an unprecedented global recognition and respect of differing beliefs, entrenching such semantics into internationally acclaimed Human Rights Instruments such as the 1945 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), the 1950 European Charter of Human Rights (ECHR) and the 1966 International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); thus enshrining freedom of religion as of the hallmarks of contemporary liberal democracies post-1945.
1.2 The Secular versus Sacred Debate
In spite of the globalisation of human rights, which has irrevocably shaped international, supranational and national policies concerning the liberty of each citizen primarily of the West; the case to suggest that freedom of religion is no longer the pinnacle of other inalienable rights continues to gain ground. Leading sociologists of religion, Grace Davies (2000) and Peter Berger (1997 ) fundamentally argue that religion is now obsolete across Western societies, more so in the region of Europe than anywhere else in the globe and therefore the historical necessity to discuss and deliberate the position religion should hold in the private and/or public spheres is now virtually non-existent in Europe today.
Furthermore, Mills (1959) establishes a correlation between the process of European industrialisation and the permeation of secularisation. The key tenets of urbanisation, rationalism and bureaucratisation during the industrial period, leads Mills (1959) to surmise:
Once the world was filled with the sacred in thought, practise and institutional form. After the Reformation and Renaissance, the forces of modernisation swept across the globe and secularisation; a corollary historical process loosened the dominance of the sacred. In due course, the sacred shall disappear altogether, except, possibly in the private realm. (Mills 1959: 33)
Mills (1959) echoes the work of the ‘seminal social thinkers of the nineteenth century, such as Auguste Comte (1851) , Max Weber (1930 ) , Karl Marx (1844) and Sigmund Freud (1927) ‘ (Norris, Inglehart 2006:223). All believed that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the advent of industrial society. The case for religious diminution is evidenced by the rise of empiricism and the development of scientific knowledge, consequently providing answers at a time where a deity or superstitious beliefs would otherwise suffice.
Moreover, Davies (2000 ) and Berger (1997 ) develop Weber’s (1930) notion of the secular Weltanschauung , or ‘secular worldview’ through their posit of the secularisation thesis, whereby the onset of European modernity inevitably led to the decrease in public and institutionalised Christianity; to the extent that ‘religion in Europe is like an iceberg, most of what is interesting is under the water and out of view’ (Davies 2003 ). Davies’ (2003) notion of believing without belonging or the privatisation of religious belief is evident through the separation of church and state throughout Europe, the emergence of secular, bureaucratic states and push for secularity within the socio-political framework of the European Union.
Davies ( 2000) labels Christianity in Europe a ‘vicarious religion’ (2000:1), where there is a ‘decline of institutional belief against an otherwise global trend of sustained or increased religiosity’ (Finke, Stark 2000: 79); feeding into the wider concept of European exceptionalism. Pellivert (2008) hails the work of religious sociology on the secularisation thesis as ‘widely acknowledged as a thorough and accurate explanation of current change in European religion’ (Pellivert 2008: 25).
However, the secularisation thesis which essentially establishes a positive correlation between countries of high development by way of intellectual and technological advancement and low levels of religiosity has been severely challenged over the past three decades. The sustained levels of practised Christianity –monitored through regular church-going and high support for Christian political rhetoric in the United States, to the increase in religious Muslim political parties in the Islamic world for example are case study examples in dissent of the thesis.
Furthermore, placing the notion of European exceptionalism in the context of religious vitality –where European religiosity tends to be vicarious against the global trend of rising zealotry is also flawed. The correlation between modernity and secularity in Europe cannot be wholly applied to Islam, ‘which rejects a dualistic worldview that would compartmentalise areas of life into the religious/sacred versus the sacred/profane. Islam will not readily acquiesce to the privatisation of belief and practise that Christians have undergone’ (Leigh 2013: 5).
Through further analysis of such developments, Peter Berger (1999) , a leading advocate for the secularisation theory during the 1960s recanted his earlier claims in stating:
the world today with some exceptions is as furiously religious as it ever was, in some places more than ever. This means that a whole body of literature by historians and social scientists loosely labelled ‘secularisation thesis’ is essentially nonsense (Berger 1999 ).
In addition to Berger’s (1999) new findings, Stark (2000) and Finke (2000) dismiss the validity of the secularisation thesis in stating:
After nearly three centuries of utterly failed prophecies and misrepresentations of both present and past, it seems time to carry the secularisation doctrine to the graveyard of failed theories and there to whisper ‘requiescent in pace’  (Stanley, Finke 2000: 279).
It would appear therefore, that religiosity rages on.
1.3 Research Literature on the establishment of Islam as a minority religion in the United Kingdom
European state accommodation of Islam continues to remain an increasingly political salient issue, more so especially in light of the ongoing refugee crisis spilling into the region. As of 2010, the European Union is home to 13 million Muslim migrants (Pew Research 2016), ‘making them the largest religious minority in the region’ (Fetzer; Soper 2005:2). The religious freedom provisions of the international human rights instruments, specifically the UNHR (1945), the ECHR (1950) and ICCPR (1960) in granting ‘ freedom [of religion], either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance’ (Article 18, UNHCR 1945; Article 9, ECHR 1950; Article 18 ICCPR, 1966); is implemented in the rise of Islamic institutions across Europe, over historically dominant Catholic or Protestant churches for example.
Whilst it is important to note that ‘Muslims demonstrate a diversity of affiliation to Islam varying from a refusal to proclaim the faith, silent agnosticism or indifference, (Buijs, Rath 2002:2) to ‘culturalist’ Islam, to a more zealous, missionary approach – the fact remains that Islam has become entrenched, across many European states; as evidenced through the erection of Mosques and religious centres throughout the region exempli gratia.
Academic explanation as to the public assertion of the Islamic faith and identity is debated within the research literature which examines cultural and religious minorities throughout Europe. For the purpose of the dissertation the starting point within the hotchpotch of European Muslim migrant literature will initiate from the New Islamic Presence period of the 1950s onwards (Gerholm & Lithman 1988). The New Islamic Presence refers to the ‘guest worker scheme implemented in most western European countries, or the family reunification scheme’ (Buijs, Rath 2002: 6); which enabled a large influx of Muslim migrant resettlement in the region.
The research literature in this field is predominated by sociologists and anthropologists of religion, typically branching into two strands of thinking: the first strand advocates the notion of Muslims being Islamic by default, thereby any study of Muslim political aspirations or social life revolves around the need to retain or be governed by religiosity (Shahid & van Koningsveld 1992). However this approach is ‘criticised as being Orientalist or essentialist, implicating that Islam is thought to be eternal and unchanging, untouched by social development’ (Buijs, Rath 2002: 120) and thereby only compatible across traditional Muslim lands. Furthermore, Krämer (2010) labels this Oriental perspective as:
A project that presents, or ‘constructs’, or ‘represents’ Islam as a distinct, homogenous and timeless entity that is essentially defined by its normative texts –ie the Quran as divine word and the Sunna of the Prophet Muhammad. For the unreformed Orientalist, Muslims are defined by their being Muslim’ (Krämer in Varisco 2010: 7).
According to this approach the rise of Islam throughout Europe is inevitable within significant communities of Muslim migrants, as they have a natural instinct to practise and spread their faith- whether through missionary work and proselytising, or establishing Muslim organisations. Additionally, the rise of hijab-wearing and religious education are all indicative of the importance to preserve the Islamic faith across host countries, perhaps one rationale behind the shift of private to public religiosity and the consequential establishment of Islam as a minority religion.
The second strand of literature assumes a dialectical approach, examining Muslim adaption to their new environment in contrast to the Orientalist approach. The ‘divergent and convergent patterns of accommodation of Islam in Europe are due to the normative, legal and institutional pressures stemming from European integration’ (Maussen 2007: 62), which has given rise to the domestication or Europeanisation of Islam; as evidenced by the inclusion and participation of Muslim representative councils or local religious leaders in inter-faith dialogues for example. However, this notion of a Euro-Islam, is challenged by Höffert & Salvatore (2000) who regard this form of modernism as a threat to the Muslim identity.
Yet it is imperative to highlight that irrespective of the tide of Islamic ideological development throughout Europe, the fact remains that the prominent position of Islam in European society is significantly dependant on state accommodation of such – namely via facilitative political and legal policies designed to publicly recognise and uphold the Islamic presence throughout Europe. Fundamentally, both strands of the research literature fail to sufficiently highlight the instrumental role of Multiculturalism in the official/public establishment and rise of Islam in the region.
1.4 The role of Multiculturalism in the rise of Islam throughout Europe  
Today, a French person is not necessarily Catholic, Protestant etc. Today a person is French through an act of citizenship, by sharing common values and by [supporting] everyone’s right to find happiness. But in the end, a French person can be a Muslim, can be a Catholic, a Jew; a Buddhist. [Muslims should enjoy religious liberty ] just as other [French] citizens do (Saïda Kada (2001), President of Femmes Françaises et Musulmanes Engagées, in Fetzer, Soper 2005: 1).
Kada’s (2001) speech stems from French President François Mitterrand’s coinage of le droit à la difference ,emerging from a wider normative framework of tolerance for pluralistic diversity and the concept of an overarching common identity; all synonyms of the political theory of Multiculturalism – initiated in North American politics- ‘largely seen as a normative framework and set of state policies, which advance tolerance and recognition of cultural differences’ (Howarth & Andreouli 2015:1. It is important to note that in studying Multiculturalism there are multiple labels attributed to the concept, contingent upon whether the approach is sociological (Hall 2000), philosophical (Taylor 1992), anthropological (Vertovec 2007) or psychological (Berry 1997) .
However, with regard to examining the role of multiculturalism in facilitating the rise of Islam across European societies, Abbas & Reeves (2007) refers to Rex’s (1996) ‘egalitarian multiculturalism’ (Abbas & Reeves 2007:10) effectively explicates the overhauling of Western, colonial discrimination of indigenous races and religions, thereby feeding into post-colonial guilt and the consequential necessity to replace previous racial/ethnic hierarchy with advocating and accommodating for minority rights during the onset of ethnic immigration from the late 1960s, in particularly western Europe.
It is imperative that egalitarian multiculturalism be contextualised as part of a larger ‘human rights revolution in relation to ethnic and racial diversity’ (Vertovec, Wessendorf 2010:33), providing the very ‘liberal-communitarian’ (May, Modood, Squires 2004:4) constructivist framework existing in racial/religious (western) European state policies today. The change in European social structure, explicitly influenced through the UNDHR (1947) et al recognition of manifestation of belief and which was instrumental in the development of multiculturalism -meant that the establishment of religious institutions was a tangible reality to particularly Muslim families permanently settling across Europe, given the sheer volume of migration from South Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
Islam and Muslims have certainly gained a new kind of public visibility in Europe, during the past three decades. In contrast to first-generation Muslims, ‘who believed that in order to avoid potential problems with the state it was best to minimise the religious features of their identity’ (Ramadan 1999: 113); for many second and third-generation immigrants, Islam provided a sense of cultural belonging and pride, that could now permeate publicly due to multiculturalist policies – in terms of access to Islamic facilities’ (Nielsen 1992: 119). Therefore ‘the provisions of facilities for prayer, teaching Islam to children, access to halal food and religious burial now had to be consciously sought out’ (Vertovec & Peach 1994: 22).
The rise of Muslim identity politics is significantly due to policies of inclusion in which the Kulturkampf struggle and ‘pillarisation’ process, particularly in northern Europe , influenced European cities such as Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Vienna, Zurich and Dublin to build diversity principles into their current policies and practise (Spencer 2008). This is evidenced in the cases of Austria and the Netherlands, where ‘instruction in Islam is paid by the Austrian state…similar to public financing of the Islamic TV and Broadcasting Corporation’ (Waardenburg in Shadid & van Koningsveld 1991:38) in line with Dutch minorities policies.
In conclusion, it is evident that religion and religious accommodation of ethnic minorities in particular, continue to hold salience across European in especially welfare and social politics. This concept of egalitarian multiculturalism has adopted a rather religious approach particularly from the 1980s across wider Europe, not just the United Kingdom – thus dispelling claims of diminishing religiosity, as the traditional literature in this field has historically focused upon the changing patterns of Christianity. Such literature fails to factor in the Islamic Question in Europe, which has risen to public prominence and setting a precedent an Islamic era in the face of de-Christianisation; evident in the recognition of public Islamic institutions, apparel and media attention.

Masters Thesis Challenging the 'Freedom of Religion' Concept with regards to the Apostasy Question in Britain.

Much of my inactive blog platform is due to the year long slog of putting this Masters dissertation together, for the purpose of finalising my university degree. Given that I had the freedom to highlight any topic within the field of international relations and granted 15,000 words to do so; naturally it was my opportunity to highlight the ex-Muslim predicament here in the UK.
Rather than upload a 15,000 document, I’ve decided to compartmentalise all sections of my thesis, thereby posting successive chapters daily.  This  blog post will focus on providing the backdrop to my dissertation.
Challenging whether Freedom of Religion exists in the United Kingdom, with regards to the rise in persecution of Apostates from Islam
 Anniesa Hussain, Masters of Science (MSci)  in International Relations & Global Issues with Honours, University of Nottingham 2016.
The primary focus of the dissertation is to investigate whether freedom of religion exists in relation to Muslim persecution of apostasy within the United Kingdom, drawing upon ratified, Human Rights provisions; prominently enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights as a legal basis for the report research. The topic is one of relevance, given that Islamist oppression is primarily confined to the Islamic world, with much less reported and documented within Muslim diasporas across the non-Muslim world. A quantitative approach was taken in researching for the dissertation as the issue of apostasy remains a taboo concept. Taking the findings of the dissertation into consideration and through the case studies of British apostates and ex-Muslim, Christian converts, it is evident that freedom of religion exists but for a few. The violent repercussions as a direct result of the renunciation of the Islamic faith and the intolerance towards the case study apostates undertaken, is indeed a dire blow to British values and promises of religious freedom.
The primary focus of the dissertation is to investigate whether freedom of religion exists in relation to Muslim persecution of apostasy within the United Kingdom, drawing upon ratified, Human Rights provisions; prominently enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights as a legal basis for the report research. The topic is one of relevance, given that Islamist oppression is primarily confined to the Islamic world, with much less reported and documented within Muslim diasporas across the non-Muslim world. Chapter One explores whether and why religion bears any salience to 21st Century Europe, concluding that religiosity is as fervent as ever, with Islam in particular rising to prominence in the public domain through European egalitarian multiculturalism. Chapter Two introduces the concept of the Muslim Cultural Defence, officially creating a parallel, alternative system in a British society, essentially highlighting certain failures of Multiculturalist policies and concluding that the Cultural Defence is intolerant of heterodoxy in a Muslim context. Chapter Three develops the Cultural Defence by applying it to the Orthodox versus Heterodox paradox, concluding that apostasy is explicitly intolerable to the hierarchal Muslim orthodoxy. Chapter Four outlines Islamic scriptural verses and theological rhetoric and interpretation, debating the concept of freedom of religion in Islam and providing scriptural basis for the death penalty for apostates. Chapters Five and Six examine case studies of British apostates to firmly conclude that there is no freedom of religion where apostasy from Islam is concerned.
A quantitative approach was taken in researching for the dissertation as the issue of apostasy remains a taboo concept. The fact that there were only a few select cases of British, public apostasy cases confirms this. There is also an overwhelming lack of academic and political literature on apostasy in a Western context, with the majority of literature adapted from news articles and religious organisations’ reports.