(Greater London Authority 2006)
Records from the 17th Century show that Muslims had settled in the British community and had engaged in commerce i.e. coffee trading as well as scholarship and diplomacy. The Muslim population in the UK according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS) as of 2001 was in excess of 1.5 million and it is a young population, more than half between the ages of 0 to 24 years of age, which emphasizes the need for provisions in education and employment. Forty percent of the UK Muslim population, 600,000 as of 2001, live in London, the largest population in any European city. (Greater London Authority 2006)
Given these statistics, discrimination against British Muslims makes it a British problem more than any other European country. The Runnymede Trust recognized this in the early 1990s when the parallelisms between the discrimination against Jews and Muslims were pointed out and a commission was formed to study the problem. It was found that anti-Muslim sentiments in the UK manifested itself into verbal and physical attacks on individuals, desecration of holy edifices, negative stereotyping in the media and by political leaders, inadequacy of bureaucratic response to social service needs such as education and healthcare, disproportionate social exclusion, discrimination in employment, lack of legislation protecting Muslims against religious hate crimes and curtailment of civil liberties that peculiarly affect Muslims. (Stone 2004)
Dr Anja Rudiger of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) states that in their work against racial discrimination, the hostility towards Muslims in the European Community is a serious matter. She finds that Islamophobia is something the European Muslims encounter in their daily lives, not only as a result of negative media nor a climate of suspicion in a climate of political tension. Religious identity has surpassed the notion of skin colour as a basis for discrimination. (Address at the St. Antony's-Princeton Conference on Muslims in Europe Post 9/11 "Discrimination and Legislation" 2003)
King's College's Maleiha Malik states that the impact of the September 11, 2001 bombing of the World Trade Center (9/11) was to reinforce the perception of the Muslim association with terrorism. She concedes that in light of recent events the public clamour for more acute policing of the Muslim community is based on reasonable grounds but is nevertheless a gross trespass on human rights. The deleterious effects of such blatant discrimination towards such a large community would have serious social consequences not only on the Muslim community but on the entire British population as well. (Address at the St. Antony's-Princeton Conference on Muslims in Europe Post 9/11 "Discrimination and Legislation" 2003)
Given this set of circumstances in which British Muslims find themselves, it is the interest of this paper to investigate the matters of education, employment and social situation of Muslims living in the UK post 9/11.
Religious discrimination in education
The unsatisfactory level of educational achievement among young British Muslims has led to an inquiry that would identify the factors that led to this state of