Discrimination and reactions

This project examines anti-Muslim hostility experienced by young Norwegian Muslims and how they cope with and resist it. 

About the project

Research show widespread hostility towards Muslims in Norway and across Europe in general. Experiences of hostility and verbal assaults also characterize the everyday lives of the approximately 200.000 Muslims the lives in Norway. Few social scientists have studied how Muslims respond to and resist the forms of hostility they experience. This subproject, therefore, examines the strategies that young Muslims employ when they face anti-Muslim hostility. 

Method

We have conducted 90 qualitative interviews with young Muslims in Norway about their own experiences of discrimination and anti-Muslim hostility, and how they have reacted to those negative experiences. We use the term anti-Muslim hostility about what the interviewees themselves describe and have experienced as direct and person-oriented hostility which is clearly linked to the fact that they are Muslims. 

Results

We have mapped the forms of anti-Muslim hostility that Muslims' experience. They describe hostility from police officers, security personnel, and employers. But it was the provocations and verbal harassment from strangers in public and from acquaintances, colleagues, and fellow students that stood out in their stories. This was what they had the most frequent and specific experiences with. Verbal harassment from strangers in public led to fear and insecurity. Social exclusion, bullying, and verbal assault from those they had an established relationship with affected them in a different way. We also examined how young Muslims tried to live with and resist anti-Muslim hostility. Some went into a discussion to “defend” Islam, sometimes trying to understand or talk down and downplay the attackers to make them less important. The young Muslims often described it as important to face hostility with openness and understanding. Some even described it as love and kindness. By responding in this way, they sought to present a different image of Muslims and Islam than what had initially triggered the hatred they experienced. 

Selected media appearances 

Published Feb. 8, 2021 12:59 PM - Last modified Feb. 8, 2021 9:31 PM