Muslims don’t actually want to live in ghettos, shock survey finds

Muslims in EuropeMost of Europe’s Muslims want to live in mixed communities, not segregated neighbourhoods, a new report says.

The work by the Open Society Institute (OSI), an independent think-tank, looked at the social integration of Muslims in 11 West European cities. It calls for improved efforts to tackle discrimination.

Europe’s Muslim population is expected to double by 2025 and could reach 40 million. But data on them is very limited, OSI says.

The report says religious discrimination remains a critical barrier to their participation in European society, and the situation has worsened in recent years. The OSI says its aim is to promote tolerance and fairness.

Nazia Hussein, who supervised the work, says many Muslims are still seen as outsiders.

“The majority of Muslims that we’ve spoken to across 11 cities feel very strongly attached to their neighbourhood and city, they feel quite strongly attached to their country,” she told the BBC. “But at the same time they don’t believe that their fellow countrymen or the wider society sees them as either German or French or English.”

The report offers a series of snapshots from: the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam), Belgium (Antwerp), Germany (Berlin and Hamburg), Denmark (Copenhagen), the UK (Leicester and London), France (Marseille and Paris) and Sweden (Stockholm).

BBC News, 15 December 2009