The introduction offers a snapshot of twenty-first century multicultural Britain by turning the spotlight on the diverse London borough of Newham, site of the 2012 Olympic Games, to explore and interrogate debates surrounding the integration of its minority ethnic inhabitants and multiculturalism more generally. It goes on to outline the hostility towards Muslims and manifestations of Islam in the public sphere, and the criticism that multiculturalism has withstood over the last three decades or so. Drawing on the work of Tariq Modood, it posits a multiculturalism that is not colour- or culture-blind but recognises and respects difference, accommodates collectivities or groups (including religious groups) as well as individuals, and breaches the public–private division that is essential to liberalism. Crucially, it demonstrates the centrality of class to multicultural politics in Britain, as well as the significance of space and the importance of a materialist approach to space when considering literary controversies involving British Muslims. Finally, it outlines the scope of the book and the chapters that follow.
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