Past Events

The City Circle is an open circle for open minds

Islamophobia: define, map, tackle

Date: Friday 23 February 2018

Time: 18:45-20:30

Venue: Abrar House, 45 Crawford Place, Marylebone, London W1H 4LP

Speakers: Dr Omar Khan, Isobel Ingham-Barrow and Hayyan Bhabha

Islamophobia is defined as an intense fear or hatred of, or prejudice against, the Islamic religion or Muslims, especially when seen as a geopolitical force or the source of terrorism. The term was first used in the early 20th century and it reached public policy prominence with the 1997 report by the Runnymede Trust's Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia.

There are a number of other possible terms which are also used in order to refer to negative feelings and attitudes towards Islam and Muslims, such as anti-Muslimism, intolerance against Muslims, anti-Muslim prejudice, anti-Muslim bigotry, hatred of Muslims, anti-Islamism, Muslimophobia, demonisation of Islam, or demonisation of Muslims. In German, Islamophobie (fear) and Islamfeindlichkeit (hostility) are used. The Scandinavian term Muslimhat literally means "hatred of Muslims"

The causes and characteristics of Islamophobia are still debated. The definition and validity of the term continues to be questioned with academics saying that it lacks a clarity, making the mapping and tackling of Islamophobia increasingly difficult.

In this discussion, our expert panel seeks to define Islamophobia, maps the extent of the negative sentiments towards Muslims in the UK, and proposes mechanisms for tackling Islamophobia.


Dr Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust @omaromalleykhan

Prior to being appointed Director, Omar was Runnymede's Head of Policy and led the financial inclusion programme. He is a governor at the University of East London and a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow. Omar's other advisory positions include chair of Olmec, chair of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Group to Understanding Society, chair of the advisory group of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at the University of Manchester and a Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission. From 2009 to 2013 he was the UK representative on the European Commission’s socio-economic network of experts.

Omar has published many articles and reports on political theory and British political history for Runnymede over the past eight years and has spoken on topics including multiculturalism, integration, socio-economic disadvantage, and positive action. These include giving evidence to the United Nations in Geneva, the European Parliament, on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, the CRE Race Convention, the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights, and many other engagements in the UK and Europe.

Isobel Ingham-Barrow, Lecturer, University of Exeter, and Head of Policy & Research, MEND @mendcommunity 

Isobel received her BA (Hons) in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies with Persian, an MA in Middle East and Islamic Studies, and an MRes in Middle East Studies from the University of Exeter. Alongside her work with MEND, she lectures at the University of Exeter and is a postgraduate researcher in Area and Development Studies at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies. Her PhD research project is an exploration of masculinity within British Muslim communities.

Hayyan Bhabha, Independent Member, Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred @HayyanAyaz 

Hayyan is a barrister (non-practising) who has worked as a parliamentary researcher since 2011. He was Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia (now the APPG on British Muslims), and is an independent member of the cross-government Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group. As such, he advises Ministers, Parliamentarians, the police, the CPS and various departments.

He is also Executive Director of The Muslim Experience in WW1 - an archival project of the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, which aims to challenge anti-Muslim sentiment and extremism of all sorts by highlighting the unknown contribution of over 2 million Muslim soldiers and labourers who contributed to the history of Europe.

Additional details

Free entrance. All welcome. Prayer space available. Street parking free from 18:30. Doors open at 18:45 and the talk begins at 19:00. If you have any questions, please contact the event organiser: