INEQUALITY faced by British Muslims needs to be tackled by the government as a top priority to “prevent a lost generation of squandered talent,” MPs have demanded.
Muslims experience the highest levels of unemployment out of all religious and ethnic groups, with 12.8 per cent of them jobless compared with 5.4 per cent of the general population, according to the women’s and equalities select committee report being launched to the public today.
The report highlighted that a boost to the economy is partly dependent on removing barriers to success for the most disadvantaged and marginalised of 2.7 million Muslim people in Britain.
A total of 19 recommendations are made for Tory PM Theresa May to follow in order to stamp out workplace discrimination against Muslims which the report states should be carried out alongside efforts to tackle discrimination faced by black and ethnic minority people.
The most significant concern that arose during the committee’s inquiry was Tory “integration initiatives” being linked to controversial “counter-extremism” schemes like Prevent.
Muslims interviewed by the committee were even too afraid to speak to them because of the Prevent programme, which teachers have overwhelmingly voted to scrap as they say it disproportionately targets Muslim students.
Select committee chairwoman and former Tory cabinet minister Maria Miller MP said: “The challenges that the government faces in tackling extremism cannot be underestimated.
“But in the course of this inquiry we came across individual Muslims who were reluctant to speak to us for fear that our inquiry was part of the Prevent programme.
“The Prevent strategy was cited as a significant source of tension by a number of participants.”
Ms Miller also commented on the report’s particular emphasis to address employment discrimination against Muslim women who often fall victim to stereotypical views which “can act as a barrier to work.”
Race equality think tank Runnymede Trust agrees that Britain’s commercial community must not waste talents harboured by some of the most marginalised communities if it is to compete economically with other major countries.
Any efforts made by Tory ministers and Ms May to bolster equality must be made separate and distinct from the government strategies including, and similar to, Prevent it added.
The Trust’s research and policy analyst Farah Elahi said that the report exposes the “shocking and unacceptable” levels of racism, prejudice and institutionalised discrimination that faces Muslim people.