The role of education in maintaining the Islamic identity of Muslims in Bradford
This study is an investigation into the British Muslim communities in Bradford, to identify which types of problems might threaten their Islamic identity and suggest possible solutions to assist those people to maintain their identity. The main aim of this study was to identify whether the educational setting in the school, mosque, home and society can challenge the Islamic identity and whether those factors could play a vital role in preserving such identity. To achieve these aims, two phases of research have been conducted. First, documentary evidence has been collected to see the background to the problem. Second, an empirical study has been carried out to ascertain the views of 160 Muslim pupils and 149 Muslim parents in Bradford. The empirical study was in two parts. The main study was in Bradford. This main survey was preceded by two preliminary -field studies, one carried out in Mirpur, which is the place of origin of a large number of Muslim parents in Bradford, and the second in Bradford. Three types of interviews were carried out with different groups of people to obtain information that can help in investigating the factors which underlie the sense of threat to identity. The documentary study, the exploratory interviews and findings from a questionnaire survey led to identification of four lists of requirements covering the four fields: school, mosque, home and society. The main findings reflected that British Muslims face challenges to their Islamic identity in all the fields mentioned above. Problems stem from both groups, Muslim and non Muslim. They also reflect a cultural gap between Muslim youths and their parents and between Muslims and non Muslims. Education could play a very important role to fill this gap.