A modern moral panic: the representation of British Bangladeshi and Pakistani youth in relation to violence and religion


  • Rayen Salgado-Pottier Goldsmiths, University of London




Moral panics have arisen about young British Pakistani and Bangladeshi males along two veins: violence and religion. Throughout this article I shall demonstrate that these young men should be considered modern "folk devils", by placing them at the end of a succession of young deviants who have been repeatedly vilified. This is firstly explored through notions of ethnicity and criminality, via the analysis of media, government and public responses to "gangs" and the "riots" that took place in several northern industrial towns in the UK in 1995 and 2001, as well as Paris in 2005. Then the moral panic surrounding religion is explored, which seems to have overtaken the panic surrounding localised violence but still features the same protagonists. "Islamophobia" is discussed in relation to xenophobic media and state representations of young Muslim men and how the latter interact with these derisive stereotypes. Exploring the increased interest of non-practising young Muslims in Islam, I suggest that this has had both beneficial and adverse consequences.

Author Biography

Rayen Salgado-Pottier, Goldsmiths, University of London

Rayen Salgado-Pottier completed an MA in Applied Anthropology, Youth and Community Work at Goldsmiths College in 2006. In 2002, she stumbled upon youth work in Mexico as a volunteer and has since worked with young people in London and India. Rayen is currently a full-time youth worker at City YMCA London and specialises in detached youth work and sexual health. She enjoys painting, yoga and kayaking. She can be contacted rayensp(AT)hotmail.com.