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Community Relations: Islam

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much funding the Government have provided for research on the ways in which Muslims are perceived in the UK; which Departments have allocated funds for this purpose; and which of the Government’s international counterparts have co-operated with the UK in funding the research. (253702)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government have not commissioned any research solely for the purpose of investigating perceptions of Muslims within the UK. A number of pieces of Government research do provide evidence from which it would be possible to infer how Muslims ‘may’ be perceived. Examples of these include:

The Communities and Local Government Citizenship Survey; a large scale nationally representative survey intended to understand people’s views on issues such as race equality, faith, feelings about community, volunteering and participation. It is possible to analyse responses by the faith of respondents. In addition, questions on perceptions of the subjects of discrimination include an option to select ‘Muslim’ as one of a number of responses.

The University of Kent ‘Equality, Diversity and Prejudice in Britain’ (commissioned by the Government Equalities Office, previously part of CLG); includes research on positive/negative perceptions of 11 social groups, one of which was Muslims.

The Department for Work and Pensions ‘Barriers to employment for Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in Britain and Constraints’; looks at a number of issues, including perceptions towards two minority groups that are predominantly Muslim.

All of the above research projects were funded solely by the UK Government. It is not possible to attribute costs to the specific elements or questions which relate to perceptions of Muslims in the UK, as one question or interview can be analysed from a number of standpoints.