Migrants say discrimination undermines their sense of belonging in Britain

A report published today (19 March) found that nearly half of minority ethnic residents, including Muslims, said they had experienced race discrimination and 30 per cent of recent Muslim migrants had experienced religious discrimination. This was cited as a key barrier to a sense of belonging in Britain.

The report – Immigration, faith and cohesion – published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, was written by a team at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at Oxford University. It looked at what factors contribute to, or undermine, community cohesion in three urban areas in England with large migrant and Muslim populations.

Most migrants felt there was no conflict in having a sense of belonging to both Britain and their country of origin. Sixty per cent of long-term Muslim residents born outside the UK said the people most important to them were in Britain.

Co-author Hiranthi Jayaweera from COMPAS said: “Evidence suggests that it is discrimination and the perception of being unwelcome, rather than attachment to their country of origin, that reduces migrants’ sense of belonging in Britain.”

Joseph Rowntree Foundation press release, 19 March 2008

See also Daily Mail, 19 March 2008