Discrimination undermines ‘sense of belonging’

DISCRIMINATION is undermining Migrants sense of belonging to Britain, a new report published today has claimed.

The report – Immigration, faith and cohesion – published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, found that nearly half of ethnic minority residents, including Muslims, said they had experienced race discrimination, while 30 per cent of recent Muslim migrants had experienced religious discrimination.

The report said those questioned cited this as a key barrier to a sense of belonging in Britain.

The report was written by a team at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at Oxford University. It looked at what factors contribute to, or undermine, community cohesion in Birmingham, Bradford and Newham which have large migrant and Muslim populations.

Most migrants felt there was no conflict in having a sense of belonging to both Britain and their country of origin. Sixty per cent of long-term Muslim residents born outside the UK said the people most important to them were in Britain.

Co-author Hiranthi Jayaweera from COMPAS said: “Evidence suggests that it is discrimination and the perception of being unwelcome, rather than attachment to their country of origin, that reduces migrants’ sense of belonging in Britain.”

Ninety-nine per cent of recent Muslim migrants strongly emphasised democracy, justice and security as the top reasons for living in Britain. Researchers also found that Muslims and non-Muslims shared a common concern about the problems of crime, drugs and pollution in the areas where they lived.

The findings also challenge perceptions of Muslim women as being isolated from wider society. The researchers looked at how different groups interact with each other and found that Muslims, including women with family responsibilities, interacted with people from other religious and ethnic backgrounds in different settings, and broadened their social networks over time in the UK.



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