A ‘System of Self-appointed Leaders’? Examining Modes of Muslim Representation in Britain

Stephen H Jones, Therese O'Toole, Daniel Nilsson DeHanas, Tariq Modood, Nasar Meer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In Britain since the turn of the century there has been a proliferation of Muslim civil society organisations and an increase in the number of points of contact between Muslim spokespersons and UK government representatives. Yet this rising participation of Muslims in UK governance has been a source of fierce controversies relating to the role of conservative male leaderships and the influence of radical Islamic groups. Drawing on interviews with 40 national elites who have engaged in UK Muslim-government relations in the past decade, this article charts the emergence of national-level Muslim representation and assesses the effect on democratic participation and accountability. Building on the work of Michael Saward, we argue that unelected civil society representatives can act as an important supplement to elected representatives. We show how four modes of Muslim representation have emerged in the last decade – delegation, authority, expertise and election – creating dynamic competition among representative claims.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-223
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number2
Early online date16 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


  • representation
  • Muslim
  • Islam
  • unelected
  • governance


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