A Common ‘Outlawness’: Criminalisation of Muslim Minorities in the UK and Australia


Since mass immigration recruitments of the post-war period, ‘othered’ immigrants to both the UK and Australia have faced ‘mainstream’ cultural expectations to assimilate, and various forms of state management of their integration. Perceived failure or refusal to integrate has historically been constructed as deviant, though in certain policy phases this tendency has been mitigated by cultural pluralism and official multiculturalism.

At critical times, hegemonic racialisation of immigrant minorities has entailed their criminalisation, especially that of their young men. In the UK following the ‘Rushdie Affair’ of 1989, and in both Britain and Australia following these states’ involvement in the 1990-91 Gulf War, the ‘Muslim Other’ was increasingly targeted in cycles of racialised moral panic. This has intensified dramatically since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing ‘War on Terror’.

The young men of Muslim immigrant communities in both these nations have, over the subsequent period, been the subject of heightened popular and state Islamophobia in relation to: perceived ‘ethnic gangs’; alleged deviant, predatory masculinity including so-called ‘ethnic gang rape’; and paranoia about Islamist ‘radicalisation’ and its supposed bolstering of terrorism. In this context, the earlier, more genuinely social-democratic and egalitarian, aspects of state approaches to ‘integration’ have been supplanted, briefly glossed by a rhetoric of ‘social inclusion’, by reversion to increasingly oppressive assimilationist and socially controlling forms of integrationism. This article presents some preliminary findings from fieldwork in Greater Manchester over 2012, showing how mainly British-born Muslims of immigrant background have experienced these processes.


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Published: 2013-11-01
Pages:43 to 54
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How to Cite
Tufail, W. and Poynting, S. (2013) “A Common ‘Outlawness’: Criminalisation of Muslim Minorities in the UK and Australia”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 2(3), pp. 43-54. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v2i3.125.

Author Biographies

Manchester Metropolitan University
 United Kingdom
Waqas is currently a Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Waqas is completing his PhD at the University of Salford. His research is focused upon the areas of neighbourhood policing and policing partnerships.
graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1977 and taught in New South Wales secondary schools in the late 70s and early 80s. In 1984 I completed an MA in Sociology of Education at Macquarie University and was a tutor there until 1989. I then undertook a PhD in Sociology UNSW under a Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Award, completing in 1995. I lectured and researched in sociology of education at the University of Western Sydney (UWS) 1992-2000 and in cultural inquiry as an associate professor 2001-7 in the School of Humanities at UWS.

In 2000-1, Scott was a principal researcher with Jock Collins, Greg Noble and Paul Tabar on the Youth, Ethnicity and Crime in Western Sydney (SPIRT) project funded by the Australian Research Council and 26 ‘industry’ partners. Scott co-authored together Kebabs, Kids, Cops and Crime (Pluto Australia, 2000) and Bin Laden in the Suburbs (Sydney Institute of Criminology, 2004). In 2003-4, Scott led research on post-9/11 anti-Arab and anti-Muslim violence, vilification and discrimination, commissioned by Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and co-authored the report Living with Racism (2004).

In 2007 Scott was appointed Professor in Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, where Scott convened the Crime and Social Justice research group. Scott was appointed as Professor in Criminology at the University of Auckland in March 2013.