Despite anxiety from the public and politicians, Muslim ethnic minority communities have been integrating into British and German cities for some time, according to research by Dr Sarah Hackett. Her findings are presented at the NORFACE Migration Conference at University College London this week.
The ESRC is one of 15 research councils across Europe forming the NORFACE (New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Co-operation in Europe) partnership.
Dr Hackett's study examined the impact of Britain's relatively liberal immigration policy and Germany's rigid guest-worker rotation system on the long-term integration of Muslim immigrants in local communities. She compared the level of integration of the South Asian community in Newcastle-upon-Tyne with that of the Turkish community in Bremen from the 1960s onwards, looking specifically at employment, housing and education.
She found that employment and housing patterns have often led to cohesion, integration and multiculturalism within both cities' neighbourhoods. According to the study's findings, Muslim migrants in both cities have long been able to achieve their employment and housing ambitions – often in the form of running businesses, owning their own homes and forming neighbourhoods. Their success has often been the result of interaction and in-depth understanding of their local surroundings and the indigenous population.