Mosques and Political Engagement in Britain: Participation or Segregation?

Siobhan McAndrew, Maria Sobolewska

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Are mosques insular? Do they encourage living ‘parallel lives’ and breed disaffection with Britain and the mainstream political process? Media portrayals have depicted some mosques as fostering traditionalism, radicalisation, and cultural divides between British Muslims and others. But is this picture of mosques in Britain representative? When discussing radical Islam, integration and the role of mosques, politicians are often careful to emphasise that most Muslims in Britain are peace-loving and loyal Britons. Evidence regarding public distrust of Muslims (Field 2007) by non-Muslims, however, suggests that these caveats are empty in effect. With the belief that Islam constitutes a threat to British values so widespread, the possibility that mosques may play an important role in the integration of Muslims into British society and politics may appear counterintuitive. At the same time, research shows that religious participation produces better citizens. People who participate in group religious events – such as attending a place of worship – tend to be more active in civic and political associations, have more social capital, and more political resources. This has been shown for native, immigrant and ethnic minority origin populations alike in the US and elsewhere. It therefore seems plausible that mosques in Britain perform the same positive role. In this chapter, we will compare Muslims who do not regularly attend mosques with those who do, to see whether the latter are more insular and suspicious of white Britain, with fewer friends outside their ethnic group, or whether contrarily they have more social capital, more contact with people outside their ethnic group, and participate more in civic and political associations and activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMuslims and Political Participation in Britain
EditorsTimothy Peace
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Pages53-81
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781315856858
ISBN (Print)9780415725316
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2015

Keywords

  • Islam
  • Social Capital
  • Worship Attendance
  • Civic Engagement
  • Political Violence
  • Political Integration

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