Off script and indefensible: the failure of the 'moderate Muslim'

Randa Abdel-Fattah, Mehal Krayem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We have become increasingly aware of the importance of addressing diversity across media landscapes. Whilst we are still far from a genuine appreciation for difference, media outlets that view themselves as progressive understand the value of appearing diverse. This has meant that a number of Muslim voices have risen to prominence in recent years. Often these voices have attracted the title of ‘moderate Muslim’ as they are thought to represent a non-radical politics. This paper examines how the voice of this ‘moderate Muslim’ has been co-opted by the White mainstream as a sign of inclusion and commitment to multiculturalism but emphasizes that the moderate is never truly permitted to speak. In exploring how divergent voices have been publicly disciplined and how the right to speak has been positioned as a ‘privilege’, we show how Islamophobia permits a religious population to speak only via a select few voices, denying the spectrum of narratives, ideas and dissent. We argue that one troubling consequence of this dynamic is the chilling and marginalizing effect it has on dissenting Muslim voices who seek to destabilize efforts to produce and reproduce Islamophobia’s good/bad, moderate/radical dichotomies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-443
Number of pages15
Issue number4
Early online date26 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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