Muslim by label and British by happenstance [The New Arab]

Comment: A government report released this week pinpointed the counter-extremism Prevent programme as one of the main factors holding Muslims back.

First published in The New Arab on 6 July 2017:

This week the government released a report they commissioned from Citizens UK, which showed concern that they’re “losing Muslims” in civil and political life, apparently preventing them from contributing to the fabric of society.

“The Missing Muslims” report kindly reminds us that “Muslims make a significant contribution to the country, adding an estimated £31 billion plus to the economy”. In addition, “Over the last fifty years, significant numbers of British Muslim citizens have become active across a wide range of professions.”

And in case there was any confusion, it states that Muslims are not a “homogenous” community.

So, despite their value, and varied experiences, why do “they” not integrate?

The premise on which this report exists really serves to answer this question.

That there is “significant skepticism across British society about the integration, and even the shared allegiance, of their British Muslim fellow citizens” is projection of other people’s perceptions onto the “Muslim community”.

Perhaps though, British Muslims would participate more in the fabric of political and civic life if they were granted the virtue of owning one half of their identity – being British.

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