Chapter

‘You Seem Very Westernised to Me’: Place, Identity and Othering of Muslim Workers in the UK Labour Market

Peter Hopkins and Richard Gale

in Muslims in Britain

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780748625871
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671335 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625871.003.0003
‘You Seem Very Westernised to Me’: Place, Identity and Othering of Muslim Workers in the UK Labour Market

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This chapter describes the quantitative evidence concerning British Muslims' employment and the types of explanation that are advanced for the differential success of distinct ethnic minority groups. The quantitative studies indicate that there is some form of ‘Islamic penalty’. From the research with Pakistanis, three interlinked sets of disadvantages are determined which might develop an ‘Islamic penalty’ in the UK labour market. Even after allowing for the effect of living in a ward with high unemployment, Muslims appeared to suffer an employment penalty. The politics of race and ethnicity were significant impacts on the labour market, particularly in Slough. In Reading, ignorance could result in insensitivity and failure to try to recruit among ethnic minorities. Paid work is usually secondary to the obligations of women. Current ‘racial discrimination’ against Muslims may be connected to a fear of terrorism that makes employers more hostile to overt expressions of ‘Muslimness’.

Keywords: employment; British Muslims; Islamic penalty; Pakistanis; UK labour market; race; ethnicity; Slough; Reading; racial discrimination

Chapter.  8193 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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