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Islamophobic violence as a form of gender-based violence: a qualitative study with Muslim women in Canada

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This paper represents the first empirical qualitative research study on Islamophobic violence against Muslim women in the Canadian context, and presents a novel characterisation of Islamophobic violence against Muslim women as a form of gender-based violence. Twenty-one Muslim women in Toronto and its surrounding areas were interviewed regarding their encounters with Islamophobic violence: they disclosed over 30 incidents, only three of which were reported to police. The spectrum of Islamophobic violence disclosed by participants includes attempted femicide, physical assault, sexual assault and verbal assault. Moreover, two participants disclosed situations of intimate partner violence (IPV) that were entangled with Islamophobic abuse, representing a hitherto uncharacterised intersection of Islamophobia and IPV in the Canadian context. All incidents of physical and sexual violence disclosed by participants were said to have been perpetrated by white men. Many participants believed that they were targeted for Islamophobic violence because of the impact of gendered Islamophobic discourses that construct Muslim women as being passive, weak and oppressed – and therefore as 'acceptable targets' for violence. I offer the novel term 'Islamophobic gender-based violence' in order accurately name the reality of violence that Muslim women face in the nexus of misogyny and Islamophobia.
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Keywords: HATE CRIMES; INTIMATE PARTNER; ISLAMOPHOBIA; MUSLIM WOMEN; SEXUAL VIOLENCE; VIOLENCE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: February 1, 2019

This article was made available online on February 21, 2019 as a Fast Track article with title: "Islamophobic violence as a form of gender-based violence: a qualitative study with Muslim women in Canada".

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Gender-Based Violence (JGBV), is the first international journal based in Europe to show case the work of scholars across disciplinary and topic boundaries, and from a range of methodologies.

    The journal acknowledges both the breadth of gender-based violence (GBV) and its links to gendered inequalities. It aims to continue to document the voices and experiences of victims and survivors of GBV, to publish work regarding those who perpetrate GBV and of the varied and complex social structures, inequalities and gender norms through which GBV is produced and sustained. The journal recognises the intersection of gender with other identities and power relations, such as ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, faith, disability and economic status.

    JGBV will publish high quality papers that contribute to understanding of GBV, policy, and/or activism, on sexual violence, domestic abuse, ‘honour’-based violence, prostitution, trafficking and/or reproductive violence and abuse in a wide range of intimate, familial, community and societal contexts.

    The editors invite interest from scholars working across the social sciences and related fields including social policy, sociology, politics, criminology, law, social psychology, development and economics, as well as disciplines allied to medicine, health and wellbeing.

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