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Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”Developments in Critical Victimology$
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Marian Duggan

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447338765

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447338765.001.0001

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The lived experiences of veiled Muslim women as ‘undeserving’ victims of Islamophobia

The lived experiences of veiled Muslim women as ‘undeserving’ victims of Islamophobia

(p.63) Three The lived experiences of veiled Muslim women as ‘undeserving’ victims of Islamophobia
Revisiting the “Ideal Victim”

Irene Zempi

Policy Press

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, and more recently the ISIS-directed attacks in Paris and Brussels the religion of Islam is associated with terrorism and the global ‘war on terror’. Muslim women who wear the veil in public are stigmatised as ‘other’ and demonised as ‘dangerous’. The wearing of the veil is understood as a practice synonymous with religious fundamentalism and Islamist extremism. Correspondingly, media discourses and political rhetoric about Islamist extremism are often illustrated by the image of a Muslim woman in veil. The veil is understood as a ‘threat’ to notions of integration and national cohesion, and a visual embodiment of gender oppression and gender inequality. Consequently, veiled Muslim women are vulnerable to hate crime attacks in public. Drawing on Christie’s (1986) concept of the ‘ideal victim’, this chapter considers the implications of the label of ‘undeserving victims’ for veiled Muslim women who have experienced anti-Muslim hate crime. It argues that they are often denied the ‘ideal victim’ identity due to the demonisation and criminalisation of the veil, especially in light of the banning of the veil in European countries such as France and Belgium.

Keywords:   Islamophobia, veiled Muslim women, hate crime, victim deservedness, terrorism, threat

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