Report urges recognition of British Muslim diversity

    The diversity of Britain’s Muslim population must be recognised and more done to engage overlooked groups in order to tackle extremism, gang culture and community tensions, a report said today. Researchers spoke to more than 4,000 members of Muslim communities and those engaged with local groups, for the report by the Institute of Community Cohesion (ICC). Britain has “probably the most diverse Muslim community in the world” with at least 15 large ethno-national Muslim communities, the report found. However councils and government too often relied on the “usual suspects” – often Muslims from the Pakistani community – when wanting Muslim opinion. That meant other groups were misrepresented and stoked resentment. Pressure on Muslim communities to distance themselves from extremism had also increased tensions between Muslim groups. “We came across many Muslims of various affiliations in positions of influence identifying other Muslims as extremist or militant. Whilst these accusations were not always unfounded, in most cases the sentiments were due to ignorance, prejudice and antagonism,” ICC local studies found. Outside pressures also increased tensions. Researchers found the US invasion of Somalia encouraged young men from one Somali community to travel to the country to fight. With a clear nod to Iraq the ICC report said predicting the impact of international events on communities in Britain was crucial and needed national co-ordination.

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