The UK Government’s anti-terror policies will likely push many young Muslims to vote for independence in a second referendum, experts have claimed.
A study, carried out by researchers at the University of St Andrews and Newcastle University found Scottish Muslims could play a much larger part in politics but many are turned off engaging because of Islamophobia.
The researchers spoke to 382 young people aged between 12 and 25-years-old from ethnic and religious minorities living in Scotland. Sikhs, South Asians, Eastern Europeans and black young people said they had been abused or victimised for ‘being Muslim’.
One of the reports principal author’s claimed Theresa May’s spell as Home Secretary would likely persuade young Muslims to vote Yes in a second vote on separation.
Peter Hopkins, professor of social geography at Newcastle University, said Westminster policies came up regularly in discussions with the respondents in the study.
He said: “The political participation of young Muslims in Scotland is largely shaped by global political issues and their experiences of Scottish politics, such as the independence referendum and debates about nationalism.
“But Islamophobia and negative representation in the media is damaging their confidence to play a much more visible role in society.
“Political leaders should take the participation of young Muslims seriously as they are a politically engaged and interested group, whose resources could be drawn upon for the better of Scottish society.” Co-author of the report, Dr Robin Finlay, added: “This research has brought up some interesting and important issues about ethnic minorities and forms of nationalism.
“Many young Muslims in Scotland perceive Scottish nationalism as a more inclusive and civic form of nationalism, as opposed to the type of nationalist movements we’re seeing across Europe which are partly based on a divisive rejection of multiculturalism.
“Scottish nationalism is something that many young Muslims feel they can support as an ethnic minority as it offers a way to engage in mainstream politics.”