The overall unemployment rate in UK is 5.4%, whereas among Muslims it’s 12.8%.
The House of Commons in UK has released a report highlighting the rising unemployment among UK Muslims due to discriminatory counter terrorism policies adopted by the British Government. The report also holds the rising Islamophobia as one of the causes for unemployment among UK Muslims, especially Muslim women, whose physical appearance triggers instant negative reactions from employers. The social and economic status of the Muslims in UK has been severely degraded, leading to poverty and hopelessness among the youth. Full report is available here.
The Muslim Council of Britain highlighted that, Muslim employees face serious challenges with regard to career growth opportunities as they fail to develop relationships within the work environment. They quoted:
“When you go to the pub, relationships are being built. How do you include your workers who do not want to go to the pub? Relationship-building takes place outside that, so social networking and socialising within the organisation and getting to know employees at another level, such as with mentoring opportunities, and having those structures in place would be very helpful”
The report quotes The National Alliance of Women’s Organisations quoted in the report:
“The rhetoric of Islamophobia in the UK is damaging and isolating and could contribute to the lack of implementation of proper training and understanding of equality policy and religious tolerance from the application process to within the workplace”.
The committee has also come down heavily on role of mosques, especially regarding discrimination of women. If the mosques itself discriminate women, then how can you expect others to not do? The report highlights the quotes from Muslim Women’s Network UK:
There are mosques around the country, but Birmingham Central Mosque is the one we have been vocal about. It has 39 male trustees. I know there are debates about whether women should be in the mosque or not, but that is beside the point. If you are running a mosque and you have charitable status, especially, as a mosque, you should be catering for Muslim women and you should have them in roles.
Some of the recommendations of the Report to UK Government:
- The Government must work to rebuild trust with Muslim communities by adopting an approach to integration which focuses on how it improves the life chances of disadvantaged communities rather than through the lens of counter-extremism. The Government must set out how it will address the challenge and work to achieve equality for British Muslims. This aim is distinct and should be separated from the Government’s work to challenge extremism.
- Gender equality applies to all British residents no matter what faith. We have noted the evidence that stereotypical views of Muslim women, which may be held by employers or communities, can act as a barrier to employment opportunities.
- The impact of Islamophobia on Muslim women should not be underestimated. The Government should raise awareness amongst employers of what constitutes illegal discrimination. In particular, this applies to those employers who advertise vacancies through Jobcentre Plus.
- With strong evidence about the rise of Islamophobia within wider society, and many individual Muslims coming forward with stories of discrimination and the fear of discrimination within the workplace, we believe there is a clear need for the Department for Work and Pensions to carry out research in this area. Employers should pay particular attention to the impact of discrimination and the fear of discrimination in the workplace for Muslim women who wear cultural or religious dress. Discrimination on the ground of religion is illegal under the Equality Act and more must be done to challenge Islamophobia within the workplace as part of a wider push to challenge Islamophobia in society.