Muslims in the UK are the most disadvantaged minority group when it comes to employment, new research has found.
The Independent cites a study by the Social Science journal as saying that Muslim men were up to 76 percent less likely to have a job of any kind compared to white, male British Christians of the same age and qualifications.
Muslim men from Pakistani and Bangladeshi were among the worst affected in terms of being in work with more than 60 percent of men from both communities less likely to be in work than their white Christian counterparts.
Muslim women were up to 65 percent less likely to be employed than white Christian counterparts with Pakistani Muslim women the worst affected.
One of the researchers, Dr Nabil Khattab, of Bristol University, told the Independent that the situation was “likely to stem from placing Muslims collectively at the lowest stratum within the country’s racial or ethno-cultural system due to growing Islamophobia and hostility against them.
“They are perceived as disloyal and as a threat rather than just as a disadvantaged minority,” he added.
“Within this climate, many employers will be discouraged from employing qualified Muslims, especially if there are others from their own groups or others from less threatening groups who can fill these jobs.”
Dr Khattab said the “penalties” for being Muslim got worse when applying for better-paid managerial or professional jobs.
“If this persists, it could have long-term implications for the cohesion of the UK’s multi-ethnic, multicultural society. The exclusion of well-qualified black and Muslim individuals could undermine their willingness to integrate in the wider society,” he said.
The only ethno-religious group with better work prospects than white British Christians were British Jews, with women and men 29 and 15 per cent more likely to be employed.
British Jews also have the most number of individuals in a salaried job with 64 percent, followed by Hindu Indians (53%) and white Christian Irish (51%).
Dr Khattab added: “The main components of this discrimination are skin colour and culture or religion. But colour is dynamic, which means white colour can be valued in one case, but devalued when associated with Muslims. Equally, having a dark skin colour – Hindu Indians, for example – is not always associated with any significant penalty.”