Muslim views and voices on citizenship should be heard in current debates

There has been much talk in Britain in recent years about British identity, British values and British citizenship, and about the concept of multiculturalism. The talk is in speeches by politicians; articles by journalists; TV and radio programmes; books and papers by academics; and letters and messages on websites and blogs. A new subject, ‘citizenship education’, has been added to the national curriculum in England and Wales.

Muslim voices in the public debates, however, have so far not been heard as fully as they should. One consequence is that the debates themselves have not been sufficiently informed. Another is that young British Muslims are in danger of supposing that the debates are not of importance or interest to them, and they may in consequence be alienated by the citizenship education lessons and programmes that are provided in mainstream schools. This is particularly likely in so far as the discourse of politicians and some of the media implies that a central purpose of citizenship education is to control and regulate young Muslims rather than to empower them.

It is ironic but significant and most regrettable that much recent discourse about citizenship education in the UK has not sought or incorporated the perceptions, experiences and aspirations of young Muslims.

This pack highlights a range of Muslim views on citizenship in a multicultural society, and seeks to encourage and empower Muslims to contribute their voices and perspectives to current debates.

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