Muslims and Political Participation in Britain

Call for papers

John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh

20th and 21st April 2012

This conference focuses on the involvement of Muslims in all aspects of
political life in Britain with a particular emphasis on contemporary

Muslims have played prominent roles at all levels of British politics and
have been represented in various elected positions since Bashir Maan became
a member for Glasgow City Council in 1970. Subsequent milestones have
included Muslims first holding posts such as that of Lord Mayor in 1985, MP
in 1997, life peer in 1998, Minister in 2007 and the first female Muslim MPs
were elected in 2010. For many years the Labour party dominated politics in
British Muslim communities and this relationship is still strong. Yet all
the major parties now actively seek to court a Muslim electorate as
evidenced by the establishment of groups such as the Conservative Muslim

Despite the impact that Muslims have had on election campaigns and their
roles in various political institutions, research on this topic remains
scant. Indeed, much of the existing work was couched within the broader
areas of the participation of ethnic minorities or the impact of race on
electoral politics. The conference hopes to address this lacuna and thereby
highlight current research that deals with Muslims and political
participation in Britain, whether at local, regional or national levels. It
seeks to pay particular attention to how this participation has changed over
recent years and identify new trends for the future, although historical
reflections are also welcome.

In addition to electoral politics and representation, the conference also
seeks the submission of papers on other aspects of civil society such as
social movements, trade unions and NGOs as well as papers which give
insights into developments in other European countries. Cross-country
comparisons which include Britain would be especially welcome.

Contributions could focus on (but are not limited to) the following issues:

– Selection of Muslim candidates by political parties and attempts by
parties to reach out to Muslim voters.
– Election campaigns by Muslim candidates including the role of community
organisations, mosques and social networking
– Voting patterns amongst Muslim communities. Is there a ‘Muslim vote’?
– Muslim elected representatives in office.
– Community politics, bloc voting and biraderi networks
– Participation in policymaking and implementation as well as in local and
national processes of governing
– Contentious politics and campaigning groups e.g. environmentalism,
anti-war, global justice movements
– Attitudes to political participation and the political process
– British foreign policy and international conflicts e.g. Kashmir,
– Muslim political organisations and umbrella groups both past and present
e.g. the Muslim Council of Britain, the Muslim Parliament, British Muslim
Forum, British Muslims for Secular Democracy, Sufi Muslim Council,
Progressive British Muslims etc.

Please send proposed abstracts of between 200 – 400 words to Dr Timothy
Peace before 22nd December 2011. Proposals must include a
title, your name and affiliation and an e-mail address. After the conference
and following peer review, selected papers will be published in either an edited volume or a special issue of a journal.

On the evening of Friday 20th April there will be a public debate on the future of Muslim political participation, featuring a number of elected
representatives including Anas Sarwar MP and Humza Yousaf MSP.

Further information about the conference may be found at

The conference is organised by the Alwaleed Centre at the University of Edinburgh in partnership with the Alwaleed Centre of Islamic Studies at the University of Cambridge and the Muslims in Britain Research Network (MBRN).