mend’s statement in response to the Casey Report
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday December 06 2016
Dame Louise’s review will be added to a long catalogue of Government commissioned reports on British Muslims which talk about them without talking to them. The Casey review gives credence to the flawed methodology of the ICM poll conducted for the C4 programme What British Muslims Really Think, which it cites at some length. One can only wonder why Dame Louise felt it necessary to rely on a debunked poll when her purpose was to engage directly with British Muslims to understand and learn what they really think. From the small number of Muslims directly cited in the report, we question the degree to which she has engaged in an open and broad dialogue at all.
This review will add more fuel to prevailing anti-Muslim stereotypes and can only be considered a dual failure for ignoring the structural inequalities which shape the concerns about spatial segregation and social mobility which she raises.
Her focus on the handful of wards in which Pakistani and Bangladeshi groups are clustered ignores 2011 census analysis which shows Muslims are more dispersed across wards in Bradford than was the case in 1991. She further neglects to contextualise the issue by omitting the number of wards that are of interest, 24 wards, as a proportion of the total, 8,941 in the UK. An alarmist tone bears no policy fruit. More objective, clear-sighted analysis is what is needed.
The review suggests a poll taken in a single secondary school and showing Muslims to exaggerate the proportion of Muslims in the UK is indicative of a problem when the Perils of Perception annual surveys by Ipsos Mori shows that Britons regularly overestimate the size of the British Muslim population with the problem more acute in some cities than others. That we are faced with a problem of distorted perceptions is a matter of concern but it would be wrong to suppose Muslims are alone in viewing the UK through a distorted lens.
That distortion is magnified by a review that devotes two paragraphs to the issue of anti-Muslim hate crime but 12 to the subject of extremism.
Inequalities facing British Muslim communities, in employment, housing, education and access to goods and services have been well documented in the last two decades. This review does little to evaluate how well public policy has addressed structural disadvantage.
The review notes that Muslims have the youngest media age of all faith groups in the UK. For them, and for the future, we need a more honest and less prejudiced approach to the important issues the review first set out to examine. We hope the Race Audit commissioned by the Prime Minister will bear better fruit in this regard with dedicated analyses and faith-monitoring to explore outcomes for British Muslims across policy areas.