Britain’s rural Muslims

Rethinking integration

Author: Sarah Hackett

This book is the first comprehensive study of Muslim migrant integration in rural Britain across the post-1960s period. It uses the county of Wiltshire as a case study, and assesses both local authority policies and strategies, and Muslim communities’ personal experiences of migration and integration. It draws upon previously unexplored archival material and oral histories, and addresses a range of topics and themes, including entrepreneurship, housing, education, multiculturalism, social cohesion, and religious identities, needs and practices. It challenges the long-held assumption that local authorities in more rural areas have been inactive, and even disinterested, in devising and implementing migration, integration and diversity policies, and it sheds light on small and dispersed Muslim communities that have traditionally been written out of Britain’s immigration history. It reveals what is a clear, and often complex, relationship between rurality and integration, and shows how both local authority policies and Muslim migrants’ experiences have long been rooted in, and shaped by, their rural settings and the prevalence of small ethnic minority communities and Muslim populations in particular. The study’s findings and conclusions build upon research on migration and integration at the rural level, as well as local-level migrant policies, experiences and integration, and uncover what has long been a rural dimension to Muslim integration in Britain.

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