“The religions are engaging: tick, well done”: the invisibilization and instrumentalization of Muslim climate intermediaries

Paul Tobin*, Nafhesa Ali, Sherilyn Macgregor, Zarina Ahmad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
60 Downloads (Pure)


“Climate intermediaries” are “go-betweens”, operating between levels of governance and/or between different types of actors. Faith-based actors (FBAs) are one populous yet neglected type of potential climate intermediary. In the UK, Muslims are the second largest group of religious adherents, yet are “othered”, and face widespread Islamophobia, alongside multiple other intersecting inequalities. Drawing from 21 interviews, we analyse data from individuals self-identifying as Muslim and their experiences of intermediation with state and non-state actors, to understand how such roles manifest. We find that Muslim FBAs are invisibilized and/or instrumentalized as climate intermediaries when engaging with state actors and “mainstream” ENGOs, but can assume such roles effectively when liaising with others from the shared faith or acting in interfaith contexts. The outcome of this obstructed action is a lack of representative or transformative strategies for climate action within “mainstream” fora, leading to subjective fatigue, poor policy design, and Muslim communities instead electing to intermediate through interfaith channels and between other Muslims. Through this article, we seek to redress the invisibilization of Muslim climate intermediaries, and raise critical questions about how climate intermediaries are understood, both within the policy literature, and in policy-making circles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-645
Number of pages19
JournalPolicy Studies
Issue number5
Early online date10 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2023

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