The Promise and Perils of Women's Participation in UK Mosques: The Impact of Securitisation Agendas on Identity, Gender and Community



This article examines the confluence of two major recent developments with regard to British Muslim communities. For many British Muslim women Islam has become the cornerstone of their identity. However, alongside this development has been the emergence of a new national security agenda based on counter-terrorism with a particular focus on Islamic fundamentalism. The discourse of state agencies locates Islam and Muslim communities not simply as ‘problem communities’ but as security concerns. The impact of this securitisation on Muslim women's political agency and identity has yet fully to be assessed. The issues surrounding this relatively recent securitisation are explored via the current debates on mosque reform, women's access to mosques and the current discourse which perceives mosques as ‘insecure’ (terrorist) sites in the UK.