New report illustrates Britishness of British Muslims
Thursday March 22 2018
A report has found that British Muslims place greater importance on national identity being central to personal identity compared to the general population.
Ipsos MORI has released a 75-page report which conducted a review of research and opinion polls on British Muslims conducted since 2010. The report was commissioned by the Aziz Foundation, Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Unbound Philanthropy.
The results of the report found that British Muslims strongly believed that their religious identity was central to their self-identity; however, they did not feel that this conflicted with their “Britishness”.
Indeed, British Muslims (55%) were more likely to agree that their “national identity is important to their sense of who they are” compared to the general population (44%).
The Chairman of the Aziz Foundation, Mr Asif Aziz, said: “While British Muslims identify strongly with their religious identity, they are also staunchly British”.
The contribution of British Muslims to society was also considered with results showing that 72% have donated in the past year and 1 in 5 Muslims having volunteered over the same time period.
Around two-thirds of British Muslims (63%) also believed that members of different ethnic and religious groups should “mix together more in their local area than they do at the moment”.
The report also illustrates that the majority of British Muslims (88%) are at least “fairly satisfied” with their life in the UK.
However, a 2010 survey found that only a small minority believed that things have improved for British Muslims over the last few years (17%), whilst 44% believe that they had got worse.
A research director at Ipsos MORI, Ms Kully Kaur-Ballagan, said that the report showed how British Muslims were strong British citizens and that they “believe that being Muslim and being British is entirely compatible”.
Mr Aziz also said: “I hope this report will go some way towards dispelling the narrow, largely negative, representations of British Muslims in our public and media discourse. I hope it will encourage richer, more nuanced reflections that recognise the significance of the changes we are witnessing among younger Muslims, and what they mean for the future of our country as a place where people of all faiths, and none, can live well together and thrive”.
The report is a strong case against far-right rhetoric that attempts to portray the British Muslim community as being segregated and uninterested in integrating with the wider British community.
The report’s occurrence is also interesting in that it is attempting to justify a community’s position within British society. We must not forget as British citizens that British society is founded up values of tolerance, acceptance and respect of different cultures, faiths and communities and as such minority communities should not be forced to provide evidence quantifying how “British” they are and how “valuable” they are to the country.