Child Poverty: Religion and Belief

Summary

There is limited research exploring the relationship between religion and belief, and child poverty.  However, a growing body of evidence focuses upon the negative or prejudice attitudes experienced by minority religious groups.  Therefore, this section discusses issues which may further compound experiences of poverty.

To provide furtehr context to this discussion, we would suggest viewing this section of the in conjunction with the following:

 

Broader Discussions: Prejudice and Discrimination

Ethnicity has been widely demonstrated as a contributing factor to child poverty throughout Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.  Although research regarding the impact of religion and belief is less well documented, there is anecdotal evidence suggesting prejudice attitudes towards certain religious groups contribute to reduced social outcomes.

For example, research by the Scottish Government, highlights fears held by young Muslim males and females, highlighting perceived stereotypical attitudes towards Islam.

More specifically, the presentation of Islam as a religion which promotes extremist views is continually cited as a key concern amongst Muslims. Insofar as such perceptions may contribute explicit and implicit forms of racism.

Participants within the study discuss physical violence and verbal threats within their local area and at school. However, it should be noted that whilst some participants did experience regular occurances of the above, others had little, or no negative experiences.

Concerns were also raised about the general perception of Muslims, with many of the participants fearing that their religion may contribute to differential treatment (in comparison to non-Muslims), within education and employment settings.

Source: Scottish Government. 2011. Experiences of Muslims Living in Scotland.

In his study of Muslim male identities within Glasgow and Edinburgh, Hopkins (2006) explores these issues in more depth.  He suggests Muslim men, like all people, possess several contrasting and complimentary identities.  These range from students, professionals, Muslims, Scots and fathers, yet, to some sections of the general population, they are solely viewed on the basis of their religion or colour of skin.

Source: Hopkins, P. 2006. Youthful Muslim Masculinities: Gender and Generational Relations.

Recent research in the Scottish Household Survey (2010), highlights 28%; of 1495 people felt “there was sometimes a good reason to be prejudiced towards certain groups”.

45% felt they had lost some form of their national identity due to increasing numbers of Eastern European, Black and Asian individuals living within the country.  Only 32% agreed with the statement that people, who have moved to Britain, make it a better place.

Source: Scottish Government. 2010. Scottish Houseghold Survey.

Individually, these individual research projects present an interesting perspective on how minority religious and ethnic communities perceive their positioning within Scottish society.  It also provides an indication of the views held by Scots in regards to minority communities.

Viewed as whole however, there is clearly scope to suggest that further work is needed to build relationships between minority and majority groups.  Whether this is through local level engagement, or as part of local and national Government strategy, there appears to be a significant need to tackle prejudiced attitudes