Stigmatised identities and religious health inequalities: exploring experiences and consequences of shifts in identity construction of British born Muslims in Nottingham UK

Khalil, Y., 2022. Stigmatised identities and religious health inequalities: exploring experiences and consequences of shifts in identity construction of British born Muslims in Nottingham UK. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Some Muslim groups are shown to experience disproportionate inequalities in health and whilst it is well established that health is socially determined, with racism found to be a fundamental cause of ethnoracial inequalities in health. The reasons for the observed inequalities are less well understood for the Muslim population, especially the consequences of external constructs of a Muslim identity.

In recent decades the Muslim identity has come under much scrutiny. The “War on Terror” and the ensuing counter-terrorism measures, targeting Muslims have institutionalised discriminatory policies and practices, which have the potential to constrict lives and perpetuate inequalities in health for the ethno-racially diverse Muslim population.

The role of a racially stigmatised identity in the generation of health inequalities is increasingly being recognised, with stigma being identified as a fundamental cause of health inequalities (Hatzenbuehler et al 2013).

This small scale, qualitative study, exploring the lived experiences of external identity constructions amongst an intergenerationally diverse cohort of British born Muslims, living in Nottingham, offers a nuanced reading of everyday life and how ideas about racism and race, ethnicity and religion have shifted over time.

The study reveals the material reality of an inscribed negative social identity, with perceived Muslimness found to be implicated in the reporting of contemporary negative experiences. Specific discrimination on the grounds of a Muslim identity was found, irrespective of ethnicity and/or levels of religiosity. However male participants, with no visible cues to their faith, were found to experience a greater level of discrimination in the workplace due to being brown, pointing to the conflation of brownness and Muslimness. Suggesting the racialisation of religion, further demonstrated by the discrimination experienced by white converts to Islam, due to the eclipsing of their whiteness.

The findings also offer an alternative narrative to hegemonic discourses alleging, Muslim communities refuse to integrate and choose to lead parallels. It is argued that enforced, involuntary segregation, as a protective strategy against racism and Islamophobia, has been weaponised to deflect attention away from structural Islamophobic discrimination.

Islamophobia as a driver of ethnoreligious inequalities in health requires specific attention and further investigation in order to achieve health equity for Muslim communities.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Khalil, Y.
Date: December 2022
Rights: © The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 27 Jun 2023 15:23
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2023 15:23

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