Beyond Myths of ‘Muslim Education’: A Case Study of Two Iranian Schools in London

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This article has two aims. First, it is concerned with a discourse in British media and politics of ‘Muslim education’, a concept that often appears alongside words such as ‘extremism ‘and ‘radicalisation’ and contributes to the undue ‘religification’ of people of Muslim backgrounds. I offer a preliminary analysis of this discourse arguing that the description of an educational setting as ‘Muslim’ opens up a social and political space in which certain types of action can occur, including fundamentally undermining the educational integrity of the setting in question. Second, the article considers original ethnographic data from two Iranian ‘supplementary’ schools in London as a way to push beyond a mere critique of Islamophobia towards a new theoretical framework. Drawing in particular on the concept of diaspora, the framework accounts for the highly creative, and potentially innovative, modalities of citizenship and education practice that exist in diasporic communities from Muslim backgrounds. With reference to Thomas’ (2011) work on the strength of case studies to develop ‘exemplary knowledge’ (rather than abstract theory), I sketch out some ideas for a theory of ‘diasporic education’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-579
Number of pages14
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number5
Early online date4 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Muslim schooling
  • Muslim education
  • Islamophobia
  • diaspora
  • diasporic education


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