A comparative study on the perceptions of Dutch and British Muslim leadership regarding social-political challenges


EQUALITY DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION, vol.42, no.8, pp.1126-1140, 2023 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1108/edi-07-2022-0188
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, vLex
  • Page Numbers: pp.1126-1140
  • Keywords: Communal mobilization muslim representation, England, Islamophobia, Muslim leadership, Netherlands, Political access, Political participation, Popism
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


PurposeThis paper aims to analyze and compare attitudes and perceptions of Muslim leadership toward society and politics based on their personal experiences in England and the Netherlands.Design/methodology/approachThis study provides valuable insights into how Muslim leadership experiences socio-political realities from own perspectives. The comparative analysis of Muslim leadership in England and the Netherlands highlights the unique qualities of each community, while also demonstrating shared communal awareness regarding political participation and concerns regarding the rise of Islamophobia and populism.FindingsThe study reveals significant differences between Dutch and British Muslim leadership regarding attitudes toward politics. While the Dutch political system enables minorities to have political parties, British leaders prefer peaceful resistance, internal cooperation and voting power for influence. Muslim communities in both countries face similar challenges, such as access to politics, rising Islamophobia and populism. However, there are variations in leadership maturity and attitudes toward communal unification and political participation.Research limitations/implicationsEspecially Dutch Muslims were much more open toward cooperation once approached. The biggest challenge was to get into the Muslim communities in England. Even though British Muslims showed a much greater aptitude toward their civic duties, British Muslims were much more careful and wished that interviews were written down instead of being recorded. But once the author was part of the community, community leaders were more accepting and tolerant towards the author's presence. From that point on, to be recommended (snowballing) became easier.Practical implicationsThis research shows clearly how different ethnic Muslim communities differ across two different countries. Even though both countries have their own advantages and disadvantages, understanding how civic responsibilities and the progressive development of minority attitudes can be best approached is important to policymakers.Social implicationsOne major social implication is the way minorities perceive social and political equality and how these minority expectations can be met. Research shows that there is much fear and anxiety to growing sentiments of populism and right-wing appraisals. For a better integration and inclusion, a sound assessment of social and religious expectations is crucial.Originality/valueAs far as the author knows, there are no qualitative research studies that compare Muslim minority conditions in the Netherlands and England. This research makes this even more interesting for how to create policy that contributes to a European understanding of Muslim existence in Europe and a common European identity. This is crucial for a more stable and stronger European future.