British MPs have revealed that Muslims in the UK face the highest level of unemployment of all religious and ethnic groups in the country, with Muslim women being the most disadvantaged.
More than twice as many are out of work (nearly 13%) as those in the general population and ‘targeted support’ is needed to improve their job chances.
Figures show they are three times more likely to be unemployed jobseekers than women generally, and twice as likely to be economically inactive.
Since 2011 however, 45% more Muslim women are in work, but ministers “know there is much more to do”, a government spokesman added.
Labour Bradford MP, Naz Shah said the causes are many: “Some of it is prejudice, some of it is discrimination and we need different responses to these problems. Prejudice is a subconscious bias sometimes; it’s innate. We have to go much further than name-blinding at job interviews”, for example.
The women and equalities committee has argued that ministers should introduce a strategy by the end of this year to “directly address” discrimination in the workforce.
The chairwoman Maria Miller said: “It shows there is an urgent need to make equality of opportunity a reality for people of every faith and background”.
“We’ve heard evidence that stereotypical views of Muslim women can act as a barrier to work”, she continued.
MPs have stressed the need to rebuild trust with Muslim communities with strategies that were “not conducted through the lens” of counter-extremism.
Ms Miller added, “In this inquiry we came across Muslims who were reluctant to speak to us for fear it was part of the Prevent programme – a government strategy to stop people becoming terrorists – which was cited as a significant source of tension”.
Muslims’ jobless rate is 12.8%, compared to 5.4% for the total population.