In recent years, British-Pakistanis have been under intense media and government scrutiny. The 7/7 attacks led the media, the police and politicians to question the loyalty of British- Pakistanis. The escalation of the War on Terror and the home grown terrorist threat pushed the Pakistani community into negative media spotlight. One of the challenges for young British-Pakistanis is how to juggle their identities, being British and Muslim, while simultaneously defying prejudices about the religion of Islam.
Acknowledging the complexities of cultural traditions, emotional struggles, societal pressures, and balancing a religious identity within the wider social and political context, allows for more challenges to be identified.
The Pakistani diaspora is the largest Muslim group with over one million (2011 Census) residing in the UK. However, our research shows there is a void in grassroots representation of the Pakistani community through the media and at local and national governmental level.
The British-Pakistani community’s sentiments on various subjects are not being voiced. This is marginalising the next generation of British-Pakistanis across the UK. If platforms are not provided for open debate and discussion, then further problems and challenges will arise.
What did we do?
Jawaab recognised there was a great need to engage with this community. Whether the issues are rooted in the UK or Pakistan, they subsequently impact on Britain’s Pakistani diaspora. By providing the opportunity to speak on apolitical grounds and in an open, neutral forum, Jawaab explored and challenged common beliefs and assumptions.
Jawaab toured three cities with large concentrations of British-Pakistanis: Birmingham, Manchester and Bradford. The following topics were explored in detail:
- Identity: youth identity, nationalism, caste system, religion
- Human Rights: minority rights, women’s rights, forced marriages
- Crime: terrorism and sexual grooming gangs
Jawaab created filmed debate shows on the topics listed above and ran a social media campaign to encourage further discussion online.
The full report is available here
Executive Summary here