New research debunks myth of ‘Muslim ghettos’

Ludi SimpsonOne of New Labour’s favourite propaganda lines – the idea that there are Muslim “ghettos” that radicalise young Muslims and create terrorists – has been exposed as a myth.

Only this week Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, claimed that there was a “crisis” over areas of Britain “becoming more and more ethnically concentrated and exclusive”. But research produced this month shows that British Muslims in towns and cities with a large Muslim populations are no more likely to be charged under anti-terrorism legislation than those who don’t.

Population expert Dr Ludi Simpson analysed media reports to map the location of suspects charged under Britain’s anti-terror laws. “We looked at 75 cases of Muslims charged under anti-terrorist legislation from 2004 to the present day,” he told Socialist Worker. “Their location is spread pretty evenly across all the places Muslims live. It’s not in any way restricted to areas where there are large Muslim populations. Branding a particular area as a hotbed of terrorism is immensely damaging and it creates prejudice and fear. It’s just a fantasy.”

Simpson also challenges the notion that Britain is “sleepwalking into segregation”. In fact the number of ethnically mixed neighbourhoods is on the rise. “Politicians look at areas where there are visible groups of black or Asian people and interpret that to mean that there are ghettos. In reality it is population growth,” he said.

Socialist Worker, 2 December 2006

Read a summary of Ludi Simpson’s research here.