A review of 20 years of government policies to increase social mobility overlooks the challenges facing Britain’s Muslim communities.
The Time for Change report, published on Wednesday (28 June), shows that inequalities between income groups, generations and geographical areas are growing. But national charity QED Foundation says the Social Mobility Commission analysis fails to address the barriers to progress faced by the country’s most disadvantaged religious group.
‘It has never been more important to ensure that people of all faiths and races enjoy the same social and economic opportunities,’ says chief executive Dr Mohammed Ali OBE. ‘It is shocking that one in three Britons has lived in poverty in recent years – but I am just as concerned that the report does not mention that a staggering one in two Muslims is in this position.
‘This is hardly surprising when you look at how the odds are stacked against them in the labour market. With Far Right and Islamic extremist groups seeking to exploit disaffection to create divisions in our communities, now more than ever we should be working to ensure that people of every religious background have an equal stake in society.’
Excluding students, the rate of unemployment for Muslims is double that of the general population. Not only do they have to struggle against both racial discrimination and Islamophobia, but many communities live in post-industrial areas of the North and Midlands with few opportunities for progress. Last year, a House of Commons select committee report highlighted the plight of Muslim women, who are handicapped not only by their faith, ethnicity and gender, but by a combination of these factors.
For more information contact Dr Mohammed Ali OBE on 01274 545000 or 07812 010918, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.qed-uk.org
Note to editors: QED Foundation has been improving the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with the private, public and voluntary sectors for 25 years. Its main focus is to enable and support mainstream organisations to work more effectively with ethnic minority groups. It also delivers education, training, employment and health services direct to communities.