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Chris Allen

Academic & Commentator on Socio-Political Issues Relating to Muslims, Religion & Diversity

For almost two decades, Chris has been researching the phenomenon of Islamophobia and wider issues relating to the socio-political ‘problematization’ of Muslim communities in Britain and Europe. This has included but not limited to undertaking research that has sought to understand the experience of Muslim women victims of street-level hate crime, anti-Islam ideologies of the far-right, the impact of counter-terror legislation, and the governmental engagement of Muslim communities. His research has also focused on wider issues relating to the role of religion and faith in the contemporary political and policy spaces as also issues relating to Britishness, cohesion, integration and identity. To undertake this research, Chris has been funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Economic & Social Research Council, British governmental departments including the Department for Communities and Local Government, local authorities, the European Union and a wide range of state agencies, third sector organisations and charitable bodies. He has published widely both in the UK and elsewhere including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey among others. As part of this, he was the first academic to publish a monograph on the phenomenon of Islamophobia as also peer-reviewed journal articles on the English Defence League, Britain First and the recently proscribed National Action. As well as publishing in peer-reviewed journal articles, he also writes for a range of different non-specialist outlets including the Huffington Post, Perspektif and the Conversation among others. As a commitment to public engagement, he gives talks about his research in various non-academic settings and regularly appears in the broadcast media. Over the past decade, he has accepted various independent advisory roles across the British political spectrum. Until recently, he was an independent adviser to the British Government on Anti-Muslim Hate and Islamophobia. During that same period, he has also contributed written and oral evidence to a range of different government bodies and commissions including the House of Lords Select Committee on Religious Offences, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, All Party Parliamentary Group on Universities, Home Affairs Select Committee on Hate Crimes, and the Commission on Islam, Participation and Public Life among others. Most recently, he became a Fellow of the United States’ Department of State’s International Visiting Leadership Program and has since become an alumnus of the John Adams Society. Prior to joining the University, Chris worked as Director of Policy and Research at BRAP, an equalities and human rights advocacy organisation that was formerly known as Birmingham Race Action Partnership. He is originally from London, has a keen interest in popular culture especially film and music and is a lifelong supporter of Millwall Football Club.

Why Theresa May Is Wrong To Suggest That Islamophobia Is A Form Of Extremism

If Islamophobic hate crime is to be framed by counter-terror and counter-extremism narratives, why is this necessary? What makes Islamophobia exceptional and distinct from other discriminatory phenomena? How does Islamophobic hate crime differ from hate crimes motivated by race, disability or sexual orientation?
20/06/2017 09:14 BST

Being United Is The Best Defence Against All Who Seek to Divide Us

While Hopkins, Farage and Robinson are desperate for us not to be united, the reality is quite the opposite. All right-minded people are united in their condemnation for the hideous atrocities that took place on Wednesday afternoon. Similarly too, all right-minded people are united in stating that we won't allow extremists of any persuasion to destroy who we are and what we stand for.
24/03/2017 17:06 GMT

On Being A Working Class Academic: A Personal Reflection

Sadly though I'm not convinced that things will change in the foreseeable future but if we can get people thinking and talking about class once more, then maybe we can begin to shake up this deeply elitist society and really begin to address how it detrimentally impacts so many of our lives. Both inside and outside 'the academy'.
27/01/2017 11:49 GMT

Five Considerations When Refuting The Critics Of Islamophobia

Establishing a working definition will support the process of differentiating the appropriate from the inappropriate, the legitimate from the illegitimate, and the disproportionate from the proportionate which brings me on to the final consideration. However, quite irrespective of which - if indeed any - working definition is established, it is highly unlikely that it will be warmly received by those who seek to criticise, detract from, and ultimately deny Islamophobia's very existence.
25/01/2017 13:04 GMT

By Banning The Burkini, The French Are Blaming Muslims

At worst, the ban is another example of French institutional Islamophobia. At best, it would seem to be a smokescreen behind which the real reason Corsica is "sitting on a powder-keg" of tensions and violence. And that powder keg would seem to be rather more about Corsican nationalists than Muslims or those of North African origin.
16/08/2016 09:22 BST

Why Britain Isn't Belgium

I do believe in today's Britain more people are beginning to understand that those wanting to divide us are not only a tiny minority but more importantly, are not the same as the vast majority of British Muslims. If you want evidence of this, remind yourself of the uniquely British put down, 'you ain't no Muslim bruv'.
23/03/2016 09:27 GMT

The Rise of Europe's Far Right and the Anti-Islam Tide

Those in the far-right will be waiting in the wing not only to voice their opposition but also to fill the political void if the opportunity arises. In doing so, those far-right voices will continue to exploit the view that Europe is under siege from an invading Islamic other as it has been - in their minds at least - throughout history.
01/02/2016 17:24 GMT

Thinking Through Cameron's Five-Year Counter-Extremism Strategy

Despite Cameron's assertions otherwise, there is nothing in the new strategy to suggest that the new approach to tackling Islamist extremism will be any less heavy-handed or discriminate, further fuelling suspicion and mistrust, while making all Muslims without differentiation feel increasingly scrutinised and pressured.
22/07/2015 17:40 BST

7/7's Legacy on Multiculturalism and Muslims

The legacy left by these events has however been more far-reaching than might have been expected, having had something of a profound impact on how we live our everyday lives. From more security checks at airports and the increased monitoring of social media through to the new counter-terror measures requiring public sector workers to play a greater role in combating extremism, and schools being required to teach 'British values', 7/7's impact has been significant.
07/07/2015 09:18 BST

A Post-Election Call to Arms Against Simplism

Let's start this by challenging the simplism of the debates about the next Labour leader to go beyond what seems to be the only question currently being asked, whether the party should be more or less 'New' Labour. It's simple, who's with me?
15/05/2015 11:20 BST

Why I Quit the Government's Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group

In spite of recent suggestions that the group had strengthened the evidence base relating to anti-Muslim prejudice through 'academic research', the harsh reality is somewhat different. In fact there has been no 'academic research' to have emerged from the group, let alone funded by it or indeed government.
30/10/2014 08:39 GMT

Halal Hysteria: It's About Muslims, NOT Animal Welfare

The recent anti-halal hysteria has nothing to do with the welfare of animals. It's just good old-fashioned Islamophobia. This is not to say that some people don't have sincere concerns about the way in which animals are slaughtered: they do. But these are not the people now jumping on the anti-halal bandwagon.
12/05/2014 09:25 BST