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Race relations, multiculturalism and integration, 1976 to the late 1990s
Sarah Hackett

This chapter focuses on local government policy in Wiltshire from the immediate aftermath of the passing of the Race Relations Act 1976 through to the late 1990s. It charts an increase and diversification in Wiltshire’s immigrant, integration and diversity policies within the national context of an ever-growing emphasis on multiculturalism, integration and positive race relations. Amidst what was a reluctance by some to devote resources to Wiltshire’s small migrant populations, a national-level mandate was often considered and adhered to, and a range of local policies and measures were introduced. These addressed community relations and racial equality, multicultural education, and equal opportunities and anti-discrimination in employment and entrepreneurship, housing and social services. This period also witnessed an increased awareness of local Muslim communities’ practices, needs and demands in the form of prayer spaces, Muslim burials and halal slaughter.

in Britain’s rural Muslims
Anti-racism, equal opportunities, community cohesion and religious identity in a rural space, 1999 onwards
Sarah Hackett

This is the last chapter to examine local government policy in Wiltshire and it focuses on the post-1999 period. It traces the county’s immigrant, integration and diversity policies as Wiltshire’s local administration once again balanced a national-level directive and mandate with local circumstances and particularism. Local policies and measures during this period were influenced by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, the Macpherson Report and the focus on community cohesion, as well as the importance awarded to anti-racism, equal opportunities and religious identity. Yet they were simultaneously underpinned by an inherent rurality, and an awareness that migrant communities in smaller and more isolated areas were potentially more difficult to reach. Policies discussed include Wiltshire County Council’s first race equality scheme, and a range of measures that addressed health and social services, valued culture and religion, and increasingly recognised, and responded to the needs of, Muslim communities across the county.

in Britain’s rural Muslims
Sarah Hackett

This chapter draws upon oral history interviews conducted with members of Wiltshire’s Muslim migrant communities. Through the interviews, migrants’ narratives and histories, and thus the ‘human’ side of the migration process, are detailed, and subjective perceptions and important events and themes in the interviewees’ migratory experiences emerge. A number of insights into Muslim migrant integration in rural Britain are offered, as are interviewees’ experiences, views and observations across a range of areas. These include migration histories and stories of settlement in Wiltshire, and post-settlement experiences in relation to identity formation, employment, housing, education, racism and discrimination, cross-community relations, and religious practices and recognition. Overall, the oral history interviews complement the archival material, reconstructing parts of the county’s post-war history of Muslim minorities’ settlement, experiences and integration that are simply not captured in written sources.

in Britain’s rural Muslims
Sarah Hackett

This chapter places the case study of Wiltshire within the context of rural Britain. It offers an in-depth overview and assessment of the existing historiography, and addresses the extent to which there has existed a rural dimension to integration from the perspectives of the county’s local authority and the Muslim migrant communities themselves. It shows that rurality matters, and that both its local authority’s political approach and Muslims’ experiences across the post-1960s period have set Wiltshire apart from the dominant urban narrative, and have shown that rural developments have often been far more complex than has been recognised. Finally, it argues that the rural dimension of Muslim integration in Britain has been neglected for too long and that it is essential to take into consideration if we are to reach a thorough and multidimensional understanding of the Muslim integration process.

in Britain’s rural Muslims
Abstract only
Muslim integration, the rural dimension and research implications
Sarah Hackett

This chapter shows how the book’s findings and conclusions move beyond the novelty of the Wiltshire case study and have implications for various bodies of research addressing Britain and beyond. These consist of research on migration and integration at the rural level, that which examines the relationship between national- and local-level migration policies across the post-1960s period, and studies that support the shift in focus from the traditional national model to the local aspect of migrant integration. Furthermore, this chapter champions the importance of studying Muslim migrant communities at a grassroots level, as well as adopting a more interdisciplinary and cross-sector approach to migration history. Overall, it argues that there is a need to move beyond the image of the rural idyll, and that the study of Muslim settlement and integration in more peripheral and non-metropolitan areas builds upon and develops various different bodies of scholarship.

in Britain’s rural Muslims