Muslim Youth in Scotland: Politics, Identity and Multicultural Citizenship
Until recently, much academic and policy research about Muslim youth and politics tended to focus on issues of radicalisation and extremism (Bakker, 2006; Hemmingsen and Andreasen, 2007; Kuhle and Lindekilde, 2010; Spalek and McDonald, 2011), mirroring the political and policy landscape on this issue. While some of these studies attempt to disrupt popular conceptions of the link between Muslim youth and radicalisation, others have assisted in fuelling perceptions of Muslim youth as taking a more politicised stance on religious belief than their parents (Policy Exchange, 2007, cited in Field, 2011: 160). Furthermore, some have attempted to categorise Muslim youth into those who are ‘moderate’, ‘apartist’ and ‘alienated’ (Field, 2011) and, while painting a more complex picture, remain rather rigid and do little to challenge homogenised representations of Muslim youth. Media representation of Muslim youth as either politically apathetic, radicalised or vulnerable to radicalisation further contributes to misconceptions about young Muslim identities and their political agency. Such representations are gendered and embodied, for example with Muslim young men being read as the Asian ‘new folk devils’ (Alexander, 2000), as ‘militant and aggressive’ (Archer, 2003: 81) or as academic and effeminate (Hopkins, 2006).
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