Sunday, 14 October 2012

Muslim Communities in Nottingham - Reports

BFTF recently became aware of two fascinating reports on the Muslim Communities in Nottingham.

Firstly there is as report on the "Muslim Diversity in the City of Nottingham", commissioned by Nottingham Council and published in 2009.

And secondly there is a report entitled "Understanding and Appreciating Muslim Diversity in the City of Nottingham", again commissioned by Nottingham City Council and published in 2009.

It is perhaps worth looking at these reports in a little more detail...

"Muslim Diversity in the City of Nottingham"
This report contains a SPECTACULARLY complicated schematic map of Muslim communities in Nottingham, broken down by ethnicity and school of thought.

"Understanding and Appreciating Muslim Diversity in the City of Nottingham"
This report is pretty much worth its weight in gold as it comprehensively describes the issues facing the Muslim communities in Nottingham, together with the dysfunctional way they operate and recommendations on what should be done to rectify the situation.

Some of the most interesting points are shown below:

Religious Leaders and Muslim Community Engagement...In general, Nottingham‟s Muslim religious leaders provide an effective channel of engagement into the communities they serve. However, we found particularly amongst local religious elders, a general reluctance and in some cases a refusal to engage with Muslims outside the confines of their respective Muslim Maslaq or practice...

Biraderi...These systems traditionally play an instrumental role in arranging marriages, conflict resolution, organising joint commercial activities, selecting community and Masaajid leadership, and vitally in consolidating support for sponsorship of Local Councillors and community leaders...However, when associated with other factors such as deprivation, alienation, and poor socio-economic expectations, these systems can be exploited in a negative context

Muslim CouncillorsOf the Muslim councillors we interviewed, most were keen to disassociate themselves from Nottingham‟s Masaajid, religious structures and groupings. Many were critical of faith-based schools and highlighted theologically based divisions to explain their preference for a secular based mainstream approach to tackling issues effecting Muslim communities...However, as we heard overwhelmingly in feedback gathered during focus groups and interviews, most Pakistani heritage Muslim councillors were perceived by their respective communities as being sponsored and elected through Birardari based support networks...Further, due to the perception that Muslim councillors‟ primary allegiances were determined by their personal Birardari affiliations, almost all were viewed as being self-serving and unrepresentative of wider Muslim opinion and needs.

Support for younger people...amongst religious, community and civic elders [there was] a reluctance to give up their positions to younger generations. The common response from both religious and civic elders was that the young were not “ready” to take up leadership positions. When asked to identify any prospective young leaders, most “couldn‟t or wouldn‟t”, despite some being involved in projects or programmes supporting the development of young Muslim leaders...

Community Centres...We heard suggestions that some centres were run as a “one man show” – precipitating rivalries, conflict and accusations of corruption and pilfering. Another commonly expressed concern was related to the appointment of family and fellow Birardari members onto management committees and other positions of influence

Exclusion of Women...As in other parts of the country, we heard from Muslim women in Nottingham who feel that their voices are not heard. They seemed to distance themselves from mainstream society, the Council in particular. And they are excluded from the majority of Masaajid in the city. They have no confidence in the traditional community leadership, nor that of the Council.

Council Consultation...[community] leaders were highly critical of the Council‟s current approach. There was a general distrust, suspicion and doubts about the Council‟s sincerity and commitment in relation to engagement with Nottingham‟s Muslim communities.

Some of the Recommendations: The Council needs to...
i)ensure it is aware of (and has up to date contact details for) all the key groups and individuals across Nottingham‟s Muslim communities. Of particular concern is the lack of information held by the Council at present and this needs to be remedied urgently;
ii) encourage individuals from groups not currently actively engaged in civic life to become more involved by setting up new channels of communication and engagement and other initiatives.
iii) work with the faith communities in the City to encourage Imams (and other faith leaders, where appropriate) to speak English and become more closely engaged with the wider life of the City.

Update 15 Feb 2013
Following a dialogue described here received the following response from Nottingham Council on how the reports recommendations had been implemented (response has been edited slightly for conciseness) :
Community Engagement:
Community Development Workers (Previously 3, now 1) worked with a huge range of groups from women’s groups providing sewing classes to mosques doing work with young men. Work with many of these groups, particularly ones with a focus on women’s issues continues.

The Muslim Communities Steering Group (MCSG), and sub groups on Youth and Women did a lot of work to look at the different parts of the Muslim community and to look at ways to engage with them.

We now have a central database (Digits) which includes both Mosques and Community Groups and can be searched by relevant ‘fields’ (e.g. Faith) to enable the Council to mail out to a targeted groups.

We are currently working to improve our relationship with groups providing services to young men in particular and to broaden our reach across all faith groups both directly and through Nottingham Interfaith Council.

Training and Development
Imam Training was part of the MCSG action plan. Diversity training for staff is part of the induction, and additional training is provided by the Equalities Team.

Schools and Community Cohesion
The Cohesion Team and Schools Support service have worked closely to provide a range of training to schools and teachers, on Cohesion, Hate Crime, Understanding Diversity, the 2010 Equalities Act and most recently ‘new arrivals’

Leadership
The MCSG funded some leadership training, for women and community leaders. The Cohesion Team continue to support new community groups and empower those involved to take on other roles in the city, including on advisory and consultative groups, interviews and mystery shopping.

Funding
Grants were reviewed and funding given in both small and large grants for cohesion in 2009 for 3 years. The Community Development Officers have supported a wide range of groups to ensure they understand how to fill in application forms for funding and to build their organisational frameworks and capacity to obtain funding.

Preventing Violent Extremism Funding from National Government was ring fenced,

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3 comments:

  1. A civilisation is measured not by the rights it grants its majority but the privileges it allows its minorities.

    Muslim community not only needs Mosques but also state funded Muslim schools for their bilingual children. They need to learn and be well versed in standard English to follow the national Curriculum and go for higher studies and research to serve humanity. They also need to learn and be well versed in Arabic, Urdu and other community languages to keep in touch with their cultural heritage and enjoy the beauty of their literature and poetry. A Muslim is a citizen of this tiny global village. He/she does not want to become notoriously monolingual Brit.

    It is a common saying that British schooling is upholding British values of integration, respect, tolerance and equality. But all minority groups find British schooling is the home of institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racist. This is one of the many reason why they would like to see their children attending their own schools with their own teachers. Muslim community started setting up school in the 80s and I set up the first Muslim school in 1981 and now there are 166 Muslim schools and only 11 are state funded. Sikh and Hindu communities have set up their own schools. Now Black community is thinking of setting up schools with their own teachers.

    Muslim families are as entitled as any other religious group to schools that nurture their children’s faith. Muslim pupils should be educated in Muslim schools because the current system is marginalising them. Teaching Muslim children in a Muslim school would remove the “problem of them being exposed” to values that conflict with Islamic faith. Muslim pupils are disadvantaged and marginalised in the city’s state schools because the cultural heritage of the curriculum is “European and Christian”.

    Muslim schools provide an education in accordance with the Muslim beliefs and values, such as providing single-sex schooling after puberty. They are thus a response to the danger of absorption into the dominant culture.

    A growing number of British-born Muslims and especially Pakistanis are suffering from psychological problems and apathy and are either turning to crime or radical Islam. Majority of British Muslims are from Pakistan.

    A growing number of young Pakistanis feel they are ‘second class citizens and will remain so. They are addressed as outsiders – as ‘immigrant, Paki or Muslim’ and increasingly shut out or discriminated against. The hardening of attitudes towards Muslims in British society is also having an effect.

    I have been campaigning for state funded Muslim schools for the last 35 years
    because British schooling is the home of
    institutional racism and British teachers are chicken racists. British
    teachers are not role models for Muslim children during their developmental
    periods.

    I set up the first Muslim school in London in 1981 and now there are about
    170 Muslim schools and only 12 are state funded. I would like to see each
    and every Muslim child in a state funded Muslim school with bilingual Muslim
    teachers as role model. There is no place for a non-Muslim child or a
    teacher in a Muslim school.

    The demand for state funded Muslim schools is in accordance with the law of
    the land. Muslim community is not asking for any favour. Muslim community
    pays all sorts of taxes and is less burden on social services.

    There are hundreds of state and church schools where Muslim children are in
    majority. In my opinion, all such schools may be opted out as Muslim
    Academies. Bilingual Muslim children need bilingual Muslim teachers as role
    models during their developmental periods. There is no place for a
    non-Muslim child or a teacher in a Muslim school.
    Iftikhar Ahmad
    London School of Islamics Trust
    htttp://www.londonschoolofislamics.org.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Iftikar,
    Re : "British teachers are chicken racists"

    I think this is an incorrect statement and that there are many, many British Teachers who are not racist and who push their minority pupils as hard as their white pupils. Indeed all of the teachers who taught me fell into this category.

    Also, could you please clarify what you mean by "British Teachers". Do you mean "British born", "British born and White" or British born and not Muslim"?

    Lastly, it is rather rude to post such a long cut-and-paste comment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ifthikar the colonist.

    ReplyDelete