SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Muslim ethnic minorities living in the United Kingdom are more likely to consider themselves British than their white counterparts, a new study has found, blasting all theories about Muslims’ inability to integrate into British society.
“Our research shows that people we might assume would feel very British, in fact do not - while others who we might assume would not associate themselves with feelings of ‘Britishness,’ in fact do,” said Alita Nandi, who will present the research next week, was quoted as saying by Channel 4 News.
The “Understanding Society” report, conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, found that Muslims are the most likely of all groups to be identified with the concept of ‘Britishness.’
In particular, Muslims from a Pakistani background, often believed to associate more strongly with Pakistan than with Britain, are revealed in the survey as quite the contrary.
Researchers point to the significant numbers of White Britons who feel little or no association with “being British.”
The study examined the socio-economic circumstances of 40,000 British households and was supported by 11 government departments and administrations.
Participants were asked a series of questions, including how important on a scale of one to 10, being British was to them.
Britons from a Pakistani background scored the highest with an average of 7.76.
Bangladeshi and Indian groups came second and third respectively, while the white population scored the lowest with an average of 6.58.
“Many people seem to manage dual identities, and it’s interesting to note that in all the ethnic groups we looked at, British identity increases from generation to generation, while within the majority white population many maintain strong non-British identities, such as Scots or Welsh,” Nandi said.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority, estimated at nearly 2.5 million.
Last year, think tank Demo found that Muslims in the United Kingdom are more patriotic than the rest of population.
Responding to the statement “I am proud to be a British citizen”, 83% of Muslims said they are proud of being British.
The percentage came higher than average across the population which scored only 79%.
Muslims were also more optimistic than average, with only 31% believing Britain’s best days are in the past, compared with 45% for society as a whole.
The study also referred to the difference in identity question in various parts of the United Kingdom, such as Scotland and Wales.
"In Scotland, Scottishness has been sold as a multi-cultural identity and it does not have the same association with xenophobia as Englishness," Professor John Curtice, from Strathclyde University, told Channel 4 News.
In Scotland, the Scottish National Party (SNP), which won absolute majority in the Scottish parliament last year, has been campaigning for Scotland’s independence.
SNP leader Alex Salmond has suggested a referendum on Scottish independence from Britain.
The debate about Scotland independence has led to boosting Scottishness over Britishness, even among ethnic minorities
According to the study, if there are two persons who are exactly similar in every respect other than country of residence, then the person living in Scotland is predicted to report a Britishness score that is 1.04 points lower than a person living in London.
Scotland's most prominent Asian MSP, Humza Yousaf, says that questions of identity have become more fluid and unrestricted.
"Take my own example. As an Asian Scot born in Glasgow to a father from Pakistan and a mother from Kenya, I went on to marry my wife, Gail, who is a white Scot born in England to an English father and Scottish mother.
"I would challenge anyone to accurately define the identity of any children we may have in the future. Will they be a quarter Scottish, a quarter Pakistani, a quarter English?” — www.shafaqna.com/english/