What does it mean to be British?
Press release issued: 14 March 2005
A new book that asks: What does it mean to be British? is launched today [Monday 14 March].
The political integration of Muslims, there are more Muslims in the European Union than the combined populations of Finland, Ireland and Denmark, has become the most important goal of equality in multiculturalism and is crucially important in shaping the security of people across the globe.
The book by Bristol University sociologist, Professor Tariq Modood, expresses the optimism that meeting these challenges is not beyond our means. Just as it has been possible to extend anti-racism to multiculturalism, and expand our sense of what it is to be British, so it is possible to enlarge our anti-racism to include anti-Islamophobia, and for different ethnic groups to preserve their own customs.
Professor Modood, commenting on his book, said: "Muslims have come to be perceived as the 'Other' that is most threatening to British society. What began as a narrative of racial exclusion and black-white division has been complicated by cultural racism, Islamaphobia and an unexpected challenge to secular modernity. We now need to rethink simplistic and monistic ideas about racism, secularism, liberalism and to ask: What does it mean to be British?"
Multicultural politics: racism, ethnicity and Muslims in Britain by Tariq Modood is published by Edinburgh University Press. Price £16.99 paperback ISBN 0 7486 2172 5; £45.00 hardback ISBN 0 7486 2171 7.