18 Jun 2024

The Missing Muslims Report Highlights lack of Participation of UK Muslims

The Missing Muslims Report Highlights lack of Participation of UK Muslims


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The Missing Muslims Report Highlights lack of Participation of UK Muslims

The report was commissioned by Citizens UK to find out why Muslims are missing from public participation and mainstream narratives. 

Whilst commissioned in 2017, the debate invokes thought that is still relevant to our community today.

It was an investigation that examined the participation of Muslims in the public, and how this can be improved.

It explores important themes of why Muslims are perceived as missing from the British public.

The increasing absence of Muslims from British civil society is a growing problem in the UK and is identified as such in this report.

However, the picture is more complex than it initially appears.

There is evidence that Muslims are not participating in public life to their full potential. However, in other areas, British Muslims are just as active and engaged as – if not more than – their white British counterparts.

The reasons for the lack of participation goes beyond the black-and-white explanations of British Muslims not wishing to participate in ‘mainstream’ public life or of endemic discrimination preventing their participation in all areas.

The intention of this Commission has been to provide a balanced and nuanced view of the trends behind these ‘missing’ Muslims.

A summary of the report is as follows.

  1. There is not a homogenous Muslim community in the UK, therefore British Muslim experiences are more diverse than is often assumed.
  2. Increased scrutiny and coverage of ‘Muslim’ issues can result in an ‘us vs them’ dichotomy, which produces its own cycle of separateness, with young Muslims growing up in a climate of being ‘othered’.
  3. British Muslims, for the most part, live in concentrated urban areas. This reflects settlement patterns for the migrant communities that arrived in the UK in the twentieth century.
  4. Employment disadvantages, and discrimination, act as barriers to integration for British Muslims.
  5. The Commission heard a great deal about the need for better leadership within the UK’s Muslim communities.
  6. The practical challenges that must be overcome for Muslim women in the UK to participate fully in public life vary based on ethnic origin. This demonstrates that resistance to greater female participation is cultural, not religious.
  7. Discrimination, and fears of being discriminated against, are actively discouraging participation and contributing to disillusionment with the political process amongst young British Muslims.
  8. Anti-Muslim prejudice, and a lack of action against those perpetrating or condoning hatred, is a notable obstacle to integration and participation.

What can we do with this information?

So, now the barriers that stop Muslims from partaking have been identified, what can be done about this?

They recommended changes to civil society, the government, and for Muslim communities in the UK.

The following are changes prescribed to the Muslim UK community.

The Commission’s recommendations are given in the spirit of providing practical suggestions on how to expand the possibilities for British Muslims to participate in public life, which it views as a win-win situation for both British Muslims and wider society.

These recommendations seek to enable British Muslims to develop confidence in their equal standing as citizens in the UK; but also aim to provide the broader population with the confidence to view British Muslims as active contributors to, and an integral part of, British society.

  1. For Muslim umbrella bodies to introduce voluntary standards for mosques and Islamic centres.
  2. For mosques to explore partnerships both within and outside the Muslim communities to develop capacity.
  3. For mosques to invest in British-born Imams who are to be paid a decent living wage, funded by Muslim institutions in the UK, and equipped with pastoral skills so they are able
    to deal with the challenges facing British Muslims.
  4. For Muslim professionals to invest in helping strengthen their own communities by, for example, lobbying for the establishment of the voluntary standards noted above, establishing a brokerage body to connect mosques with external capacity-building support or directly funding schemes to help modernise mosque committees.


You can access the report here: Missing_Muslims_Report_A4_-_Web_Short_Version (2)

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