Transgressing community: the case of Muslims in a twenty-first-century British city

Ajmal Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


This paper draws on ethnographic research carried out in Birmingham, UK – a city significant for its sizeable Muslim population and its iconic role in the history of minority ethnic settlement in Britain – to consider how associations of place and ethnicity work in different ways to inform ideas about ‘Muslim community’ in twenty-first-century Britain. The paper charts happenings around a local event in an area of majority Asian settlement and how representations of the area as a place of Muslim community were used to implicate it in the ‘war on terror’. The paper goes on to show how this sensibility is disrupted by Muslims themselves through alternative engagements with space and ethnicity. The paper argues that these offer a ground for making Muslim community in ways that actively engage with histories and patterns of ethnic settlement in the city rather than being determined by them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-635
Number of pages14
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number4
Early online date15 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2014


  • Muslims
  • community
  • space
  • Birmingham
  • Sparkbrook


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