Muslim teenagers in the UK are much more assimilated with the nation than their counterparts growing up in other European countries, new research claims. Young British Asians are less radical, do better in school and suffer less discrimination than Muslim youngsters brought up in France and Germany, according to the survey. Researchers at Lancaster University claim that their poll, based on 2,500 young adults aged 16 to 25, is proof that multiculturalism is working.
For the study, young second generation Pakistanis and Indians who were also Muslims living in Blackburn and Rochdale were compared with Moroccan and Algerian youngsters in France and Turks and former Yugoslavs in Germany. It showed British Asian youngsters are remarkably similar to their white contemporaries; they enjoy watching soaps like EastEnders and Coronation Street, are most likely to read The Mirror or The Sun newspaper and are turned off by politics. Although there is a ‘moral panic’ about young muslims, the British ‘multicultural’ approach of accommodating immigrants actually works better than the French or German approaches, it is claimed.
In France, where head coverings have been banned in schools, there is no allowance for ethnic and religious differences by the state. And the widespread ethnic tensions seen between North Africans and the police in France in 2007 were repeated this summer. In Germany, unless you have a German ancestor you cannot legally become a German citizen no matter how long your family have settled in the country. Citizenship relies on a German blood line.
British Asian youngsters expressed very little interest in the politics of their parents’ country - a sharp contrast to Turks living in Germany and North Africans in France. Ethnic disadvantages within education were pronounced in Germany but far less evident in Britain, according to the study. For example, Turks living in Germany and North Africans in France did relatively poorly at school and in college. And Indians and Pakistanis living in Britain were three times more likely to enter a university than their counterparts in France and Germany.
Religion remained an important part of the day to day lives of British Asian youngsters with 59 per cent of Indians attending a place of worship regularly along with 38 per cent of Pakistanis. However only 15 per cent of Indians and 8 per cent of Pakistanis were members of a religious organisation. The research is to be published in a new book out tomorrow, titled Children of International Migrants in Europe. Professor Roger Penn, from Lancaster University, who co-authored the book said: 'Perceptions of discrimination were lowest in Britain and highest in Germany, reflecting the failure of the German model of exclusive ‘ethnic nationalism’. ‘Britain’s model of multiculturalism is proving far more effective for the incorporation of ethnic minority groups than the French ‘assimilation’ or German ‘ethnic nationalist’ ones.’ ‘There is simply a moral panic going on about young Muslims because of 7/7.’