Role-Model Natives: Influences of Intergroup Contact on Muslim Perceptions of Right-wing Populism

Right-wing populism has risen from the periphery to govern centre politics. According to some scholars, the status quo is an apocalyptic ultimatum to Muslims in Europe; Is it going to be an Islamised Europe or Europeanised Islam? But with Muslim voices almost absent from the literature, this article critically addresses such tropes by questioning the extent to which such matters relate to the everyday lived contingencies of Muslims in Europe and the relationships they establish in society. By giving Muslims a voice, they tell us not only what is really affecting them, but also how they relate with significant ‘others’ in society as they negotiate their senses of belonging and citizenship. Scholarship has highlighted role models as important to minority communities or disadvantaged groups because they provide a template of behaviours for achievement, success and social acceptance. How do Muslim youth who come into significant contact with non-Muslim mentors through educational and vocational trajectories relate to them? This study contributes to the outlined literatures with a small-scale study of second-generation and convert Muslim responses to Right-wing Populism in Edinburgh, Copenhagen, and Malmo. Through narrative analysis, the article focuses on the theme of ‘role-model natives’, unravelling how intergroup contact and relationships influence Muslim perceptions of right-wing populism.

Yahya Barry

Senior Visiting Researcher, CAS

Yahya is a Senior Visiting Researcher at CAS with research interests in Black African Diasporas, Islamophobia, Right-wing Populism & Christian-Muslim Relations in West Africa.