Islamic Human Rights Commission
17th November 2004
PRESS RELEASE: First Report on British Muslims’ Expectations of the Government published Thursday 18th November
British Muslims loyal despite demonisation and discrimination
In a groundbreaking study published by the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the sense of affiliation to the UK amongst British Muslims has been charted in an attempt to bring Muslim concerns and expectations to the attention of policymakers.
Almost 80% of respondents saw little or no contradiction between being a good British citizen and Islamic values. This is just one of the many findings in this study that flies in the face of current perceptions of Muslims in both press and at policy levels, where Muslim belief and practice is often portrayed as a barrier to social integration and harmony.
The reflects Muslims’ concerns and expectations about foreign policy, discrimination, the political process, demonistaion and Muslim participation in at all levels of society.
‘Dual Citizenship: British, Islamic or Both?’ studied British Muslims’ feeling of loyalty and satisfaction with life in the UK as well as their loyalty to their faith and religious laws. These distinct affiliations have been portrayed as incompatible. The authors argue that not only is this not the case but that government needs to recognise and understand these two sources of affiliation and
implement \’comprehensive social and political policies\’, to encourage these two identities to function as complimentary elements. However failing to understand this can become source of social distance and even contradiction.
Speaking on behalf of IHRC, Arzu Merali said:
“Hitherto we have seen a lopsided debate where prevailing prejudices about Islam and Muslims have dictated the terms of Muslim participation in society. In recent years this has been characterised by increasing pressure on Muslim beliefs and practices. This study has thrown many of these perceptions of Muslims away.
“Based on the responses of Muslims themselves, it finds that religion is one of the main factors that has influenced a high level of loyalty amongst the UK’s Muslims despite, clear feelings of discrimination and hatred being levelled against them.
“The government needs to seriously look at Muslims’ expectations of them if they are to foster a truly inclusive, safe and just society.”
The report is the first in a series of 8 to be published over the next year as part of the British Muslims’ Expectations of the Government project, which will be launched at the House of Lords on 16th December 2004. Press requiring passes should contact the office on the numbers below. The second report on social discrimination will be available in the first week of December.
‘Dual Citizenship: British, Islamic or Both? — Obligation, Recognition, Respect and Belonging’ by Saied R. Ameli and Arzu Merali, 84 pp, £7, ISBN 1-903718-25-2 is available from Thursday 18th November.
A 4 page summary, and full review copy in PDF are attached. If you require further comment or a hard copy for review, please contact the press office on (+44) 20 8904 422, mobile (+44) 7958 607475 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
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Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183