UK

British Muslims Among The Most Deprived In The Country, Finds Landmark Report

02/13/2015 12:33 pm 12:33:09 | Updated 13 February 2015

A landmark report based on census data from 2001 and 2011, the first to ask respondents what religion they practiced, has been called the "most comprehensive" study yet on Britain's Muslim population.

A detailed infographic reveals the research from The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), which found serious deprivation for Muslims in Britain, but also that three quarters call themselves "British" rather than "British Muslim".

muslim children uk

Muslim women and children at morning prayers in Burgess Park in London

The number of Muslims in the UK nearly doubled from 1.55 million in 2001 to 2.71 million in 2011, according to the ‘British Muslims in Numbers' study. But Muslims still comprise less than 1 in 20 of the population.

The findings revealed that despite an increased level of education over the 10 years, Muslims have a higher rate of unemployment than the average. Almost half of the British Muslim population resides in the bottom 10% local authority districts for deprivation.

The report claims this high unemployment is partly because: "Muslims face a double penalty – racial and cultural discrimination - in entering the labour market, as is confirmed by numerous studies."

The high proportion of the Muslim prison population (13%) and the proportion of Muslims in social housing (28%) is also a "cause for concern", the report's author said.

Dr Sundas Ali, from the University of Oxford, told The Huffington Post UK it was a "first of its kind".

"It is the most comprehensive and detailed study conducted on the British Muslim population. The findings have been derived from the best possible sample size, making it the most representative sample for British Muslims.

She added: "The authoritative data from the census, provided by the Office for National Statistics, allows us to understand hard facts about the British Muslim population. This is a dispassionate analysis of the data, we present the data findings as they are."

muslims in britain

Click to enlarge the infographic

The MCB study showed that 73% of UK Muslims used only the word 'British' to define their national identity, rather than entering a more complex answer such as "British Muslim" or "British Iraqi".

Shuja Shafi, secretary general of the MCB, told The Huffington Post UK that the research proved British Muslims were "proud to be British".

The findings come after growing Islamophobia in the UK and some negative media coverage of the faith, as well as calls implying Muslims should "prove" their 'Britishness' by sporting symbols like hijabs decorated with a Union Flag or remembrance day poppies.

Shafi said: “We would certainly say that there is no doubt in our minds that British Muslims identify themselves as British and are proud to be British.”

“The figures show that just under half – 47% - of them are born in Britain. It’s a very young population, therefore, a young population who are born here and identify and regard themselves as British.”

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The report also highlights how a greater proportion than average of Muslim women are not in the labour market and look after the home or family.

Nearly half (46%) of the Muslim population resides in the bottom 10% of the most deprived Local Authority Districts in England.

Three-quarters of the Muslim population was concentrated in London, the West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and Humber.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "Taking data from the 2011 census, this important new report from the Muslim Council of Britain helps give us a snapshot of the socio-economic challenges and opportunities now facing Britain's Muslim communities.

"What's not in doubt is that British Muslims can be proud of the contribution they make to our country. Drawing on analysis like this, together, we can help create jobs, drive growth and enable more people to get on - building the stronger economy and fairer society we want for Britain's future."

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