Tuesday 18 October 2016 – Research seminar with Dr Waqas Tufail (Leeds Beckett University)

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Title: From ‘Grooming Gangs’ to Racist Murder: Racialisation and Criminalisation of Muslims in Neoliberal Britain
Speaker: Dr Waqas Tufail (Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Leeds Beckett University)

Dr Tufail’s research covers the areas of Policing, racism, Islamaphobia and criminalisation. His recent publications include ‘Rotherham, Rochdale and the racialized threat of the ‘Muslim grooming gang’, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Vol. 4 (3) and ‘Policing and the Reproduction of Local Social Order: a case study of Greater Manchester’, Journal on European History of Law, Vol. 6 (1), (with Jeffery, B., and Jackson, W. (2015))

A series of sexual offences in a number of towns in the United Kingdom since 2008-9 led to a moral panic about ‘Muslim grooming gangs’. The subsequent discourse racialised South Asian men and held the culture of Muslim communities in particular to be the main cause. Following a series of high profile criminal convictions of Asian men for sexual offences, the term ‘Muslim gang’ has, in media and popular discourse, become synonymous with the offence of ‘grooming’. The terms ‘Asian’, ‘gang’ and ‘Muslim’ have been used interchangeably in association with ‘grooming’ and have served as signifiers indicating misogyny, cultural and religious incompatibility with ‘Western values’ and an inherently dangerous masculinity.

Marginalised or missing from the ‘grooming gangs’ narrative was acknowledgment of the significant structural and institutional factors that enabled the abuse – long term disinvestment in social and children’s services exacerbated by the politics and realities of austerity, the many failures of the police including not believing the survivors, engaging in victim blaming and even partaking in the sexual abuse of those who sought their assistance and protection.

Following the emergence and in the context of the ongoing ‘grooming gang’ scandal, violent anti-Muslim racism has taken place on a regular basis in the towns affected. In a recent and unprecedented move, Muslim communities within Rotherham unanimously agreed to boycott South Yorkshire police for not taking racist attacks against Muslims seriously.

This paper is based on empirical data gathered from a mixed methods approach and is part of a wider study that began by examining the ‘integration’ demands placed on second generation British Muslims. Using the events in Rotherham as a case study, this paper presents a localised analysis of racial neoliberalism in Britain today where race, class, gender and anti-Muslim racism intertwine.

4.00PM – 5.00PM

See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.