UK Politics

Think Global, Act Local: A study of the political choices of British Muslim students

This is a guest post from British Muslims for Secular Democracy

In the run-up to the General Election 2010, much has been written about the political participation of minority communities in the UK. This is particularly true for young Muslims, but how do they see their role as citizens in an advanced democracy?

British Muslims for Secular Democracy (bmsd) saw the need to gain a more nuanced understanding of the political agency of young Muslims, and assess the range of factors that affect their engagement with the democratic process. “Think Global, Act Local: A study of the political choices of British Muslim students,” is the result of in-depth interviews with 24 Muslim students across England and Wales, carried out between November 2009 and March 2010.

More specifically, the research project sought:

– to probe their awareness of active citizenship that crosses ethnic and religious boundaries.

– to explore internal and external barriers to the civic participation of young Muslims.

– to explore effective strategies to increase the democratic involvement of young Muslims, and their sense of civic entitlement and responsibility.

The report enables young people to share their innermost thoughts and feelings about the political process in the UK, and their role within it. Politicians have expected bloc votes from Muslim communities for so long, but the findings of this report show that young Muslims are eager to be treated as individuals, with a holistic appraisal of the various facets of their identities.

“Think Global, Act Local: A study of the political choices of British Muslim students,” provides honest insight into the challenges that young Muslims face, as well as trying to find answers to problems that affect young people more generally. The report makes a number of recommendations for statutory and third sector organisations, academics, political and media professionals, as well as the young people themselves. It is vital for civil society campaigns like Power2010 and 38 Degrees to build upon on their excellent work in terms of re-engaging grassroots communities, at various stages of the electoral cycle.

You can read the report here:

http://www.bmsd.org.uk/pdfs/think%20global%20act%20local.pdf

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