Muslims more British than British?

Published July 1st, 2012 - 12:19 GMT
A British Muslim poses outside Westminster
A British Muslim poses outside Westminster

Ethnic minorities identify more closely with the idea of ‘Britishness’ than their white counterparts, new research has revealed, contradicting the perception that immigrants do not integrate into British society.

The reports titled ‘Understanding Society’, conducted by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, discovered that Muslims are the most likely of all groups to identify 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.

The researchers also point to the significant numbers of White Brits who feel little or no association with “being British.”

The authors of the report say the result discards suggestions that ethnic groups are either unwilling or unable into integrate British society and show that fears over negative impacts of immigration on cultural identity are overrated, according to Britain’s the Daily Mail.

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.

Brits 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.

“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 one of the researchers, Dr. Alita Nandi.

“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,” she added.

The study also revealed that identification with ‘Britishness’ is found to be higher among the children and grandchildren of migrants and that White, Chinese and Afro-Caribbeans associate least closely with the concept.


What do you think about being ethnic and British?  Are you a Muslim Brit who feels their Britishness particularly keenly? Comment below.

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