Temporary liberties and uncertain futures: young female Muslim perceptions of life in England

Naomi Thompson, Stephen Pihlaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores how young female Muslim university students in London and Birmingham experience life in England. Through focus groups and interviews, talk about three main topics was collected: how young Muslims frame their identities; how they are perceived by others; and how they perceive Muslims to be portrayed and represented in public life. Analysis shows that the participants: presented themselves as ambitious and autonomous; experienced direct and indirect exclusion as young Muslims; perceived a lack of diverse Muslims role models and ambassadors in public life; and that, despite their optimism, felt their futures in Britain were uncertain. The young people recognised the temporary liberties they have around dress and practice as university students that are potentially restricted in wider society. The research highlights the problems created by stigmatising public discourse around Islamist extremism that fuels narrow, deficit-focused policy that exacerbates the exclusion of young Muslims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1326-1343
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2018


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