Young Muslims form a growing part of the population yet the mainstream services struggle to meet their needs (Ashrif 2007). It has been argued (Sallah 2007) that there is a strong historical link between their presence and the services they receive which is at times dogmatic, in that the services are delivered from a Eurocentric perspective with very little sensitivity to their different cultural and religious values and needs or relativist, where service provision assumes that “everything under the sun goes by” with very little critical interrogation of delivery. Constituting a significant percentage of the population and a projected majority in some areas in the UK by the next census, it is cardinal that we locate this within the wider discourse around the “politicisation” of young Muslims in Europe and the global “war on terror”. This research addresses this area by examining barriers that face young Muslims and its impact on community cohesion, using a representative sample from Leicester, one of UK’s most diverse cities. This takes into consideration that there has been a shift in UK policy from multiculturalism to integration signalled by the setting up of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion in August 2006. This paper will be based on research carried out in Leicester, United Kingdom, between February and March 2007. It explores barriers young Muslims face in accessing mainstream provision as well as make recommendations for best practice. It is based on questionnaires to young Muslims between the ages of 13 -19, parents of young Muslims, key mainstream service providers and a representative sample of key stakeholders within the Muslim community.
|Keywords:||Young Muslims, Integration, Community Cohesion|
Senior Lecturer, Youth and Community Division, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
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