Rising to the Top

Over recent years, conversations about integration have often been presented as debates over whether or not certain ethnic or religious groups believe in ‘British values’. In much of the media and our public discourse, British Muslims are most frequently discussed in this context.

Yet, an arguably more important lens through which to examine integration is that of labour market success. A successfully integrated society is one in which all ethnic or religious groups are more or less equally represented in positions of power in society. Shared values must go hand in hand with socio-economic integration and equality of opportunity.

In this report, Demos presents research findings on the extent to which British Muslims are under-represented in the ‘top professions’, examines why this might be the case, and makes recommendations for how the gap can be narrowed. [Demos] Read more

The ‘Muslim penalty’ in the workplace can be overcome

A report released today by the cross-party thinktank Demos highlights how British Muslims are strongly under-represented in the “top professions” compared to the population at large, and refers to the “Muslim penalty” that exists across ethnic groups in the labour market.

…. Yet while Demos rightly argues the importance of economic integration and social mobility, it notes that many still consider integration in terms of the abstract acceptance of “British values”. I very much echo the sentiments in the report which criticise the presenting of integration “as part of a counter-extremism effort”, noting: “there are few ways of approaching integration that could be less helpful”.

With the government’s work on integration seemingly being linked to extremism and more Muslims being alienated from wider society through counter-terrorism efforts, I hope that this report’s recommendations will be taken on by the government and communities across the UK. [481 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 123 votes] “…. more than half the British population see Muslims as a threat,”

The question asked was whether Islam poses a threat. That is not the same as asking whether Muslims pose a threat.

[2ND 117] “With Islamophobia on the rise, a systematic and strategic cross-governmental policy is needed.”

Why is that word still in use? A phobia is an irrational fear of something. While some people may fear Islam, the vast majority just seek to question whether it has anything positive to contribute to society.

As your piece states, Islam results in gender discrimination – but that statement itself could be called Islamophobic. The term is meaningless.

[3RD 93] Exactly. I can’t think of a single individual Muslim I know who I would consider a threat. But if you ask me to look at the bigger question, I would certainly consider Islam a threat.

Two very different questions.

[4TH 90] You wear your religion you pay the cost. It’s a choice and not a rational one.

[5TH 83] “…. more than half the British population see Muslims as a threat, a view perpetuated by sections of the media.”

Those sections that insist on reportinng the atrocities done in the name of the Prophet?

[6TH 83] The author concedes that Muslim cultural attitudes towards women is part of the problem, and

“The issue, however, remains a concern and mosques and community organisations can play an important role in tackling this cultural attitude.”

You want mosques to deal with the problem of women’s inferior status in Islam? .

You just don’t get it, do you

[7TH 79 ] We should not pretend that this is about equality. I should be perfectly entitled to discriminate against someone on the basis of their beliefs.

If you believe it’s OK to beat young children, I probably wouldn’t choose you to babysit my kids. If you believe Santa is real, I probably wouldn’t hire you in any position that required logical thinking.

Faith is a choice, and you must be prepared to accept that people will form opinions on you based upon your choices.

It’s absolutely true that there is probably racial discrimination at play here also, which is unacceptable, but Islam is not a race, let’s not allow people to hide their illiberal opinions and prejudices behind their “culture”.

[8TH 76] Where there’s smoke there is fire. There is a reason (actually there are dozens) why Islam is viewed unfavorably all over the world.

[9TH 65] This article does note that the Demos report explained that much of the problem lay in the cultural attitudes of Muslims themselves, but she then brushes this away to concentrate on what the government and non-muslims should be doing.

In fact, as I understood the summaries I read, the Demos report put much of the blame for Muslim underrepresentation in professional jobs on Muslim culture. So a more honest approach would have been to spend much of the article discussing what Muslims themselves should be doing. [Guardian Cif] Read more