Muslim Council of Britain reframes discussion on integration with new report on Islam and British society.
David Cameron, former UK prime minister, said “integration is a two-way street” after staying with a Muslim family more than a decade ago.
However, the street has since narrowed to one-way traffic. Integration has become a term applied only to Muslims, according to a new report by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) titled, Our Shared British Future- Muslims and Integration in the UK.
The report, presented in Parliament on Wednesday, features 30 diverse voices from the Muslim community and calls for equal integration for all, with no special burden placed on Muslim communities.
“If any integration policy is to succeed, as the government plans to do in 2018, it needs to be inclusive,” Harun Khan, MCB’s secretary-general, wrote in the report.
“The same goes for ‘British values’, a relatively new term coined after concerns of extremism. Many are worried that such values have been conceived in a knee-jerk fashion because some people are considered ‘not quite British enough’ and therefore must be subject to a civilising mission,” Khan continued.
In the report, MCB – the UK’s largest Muslim umbrella body of more than 500 affiliated organisations, mosques, charities and schools – proposes steps to tackle real challenges to integration that Muslims face such as racism, threats by far-right groups, fair access to employment, housing shortages, and isolation.
More than two million Muslims live in the UK, and account for about 4.8 percent of the population in England and Wales.
Despite claims to the contrary, Muslim communities have become less segregated, according to the latest census, the report noted.