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Accidental Pilgrims: Passions and Ambiguities of Travel to Christian Shrines in Europe

Tourism and International Relations
Simon Coleman

Late in November 2014, a minor scandal erupted in the British media when a branch of the anti-immigrant U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) accused the BBC of ingrained liberal bias.1 The cause of the complaint was a straw poll that journalists had conducted on the public’s attitudes toward the party’s leader, Nigel Farage. What the branch objected to was not the poll itself, but its loca- tion—in front of a London mosque. Surely, implied Farage’s supporters, this was a deliberately provocative juxtaposition, a symbolically loaded deployment of religious space that was being used as a critical comment on UKIP’s policies.