Unwilling citizens? Muslim young people and national identity

Paul Thomas, Pete Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Muslim youth 'identities' are at the forefront of recent policy concern in the UK. The 2001 riots in northern English towns apparently revealed alienated Muslim communities living 'parallel lives' and failing to share British identity. Whilst highly contested, the resulting new priority of Community Cohesion and debates around 'Britishness' have moved forward. The 7/7 bombings and subsequent terror plots arguably confirmed the picture of Muslim youth as oppositional to British values, prompting the blaming of multiculturalism and attempts to 'prevent violent extremism'. Such policies have offered little evidence on how Muslim young people actually view their identity. This article draws on research in Oldham and Rochdale to explore how Muslim young people understand their identifications and how this relates to understandings of national identity. In doing so, it explores the role of multiculturalism and community cohesion in the identities of young British Muslims and the implications for policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1044
Number of pages17
Issue number6
Early online date19 Nov 2011
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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