Hard to Reach Communities: Living in the UK, and Issues Facing British Muslims of Kashmiri Heritage Born & Bred in the UK

Rajput Owais

In my presentation I will focus on British Muslim Communities living in UK; my main focus will be on the British local community with Kashmiri heritage, as most of the time they are labelled in the media as “Home Grown Radicalised” Muslims, even if they are the fourth & fifth generation born & bred in UK.I will also focus on Processes to Radicalisation in UK, in local communities, again particularly in the Kashmiri community.

I will also focus on design and delivery processes so far used by authorities in de-radicalisation processes and the results so far, and why we need to change those design and delivery processes, especially when we focus on the British Diaspora with Kashmiri heritage, the fourth & fifth generation born & bred in the UK.

We don’t have accurate figures on Kashmiris in Britain because in the ethnic monitoring system they are not recognised as such. However, estimates from different sources show that at least two thirds of British Pakistanis are actually from the Kashmiri part of Mirpur under Pakistani control, the so-called ‘Azad Kashmir’. Migration from this part of Kashmir started in the late 19th century and continued through the two world wars, with chain migration starting in the 1960s.

Today there are five generations of British Kashmiris settled in all the major cities and towns across Britain, with the largest population of nearly 100,000 in Birmingham, followed by over 60,000 in Bradford.

I will focus on what was the role and nature of religion and religious relations in ‘Azad’ Kashmir before the invasion of Pakistani tribal in 1947 and the flight of non-Muslims.

I will also discuss how the generations following those that migrated to Britain from Mirpur Azad Kashmir, and born here, see their attachment with religion and what are the possible local and global sources of radicalisation within this community.

I will conclude with some suggestions about the changes in approach towards Kashmiris within the wider British Muslim Identity that in my view would be useful for community relations and British society as a whole.

My findings and suggestions will be useful to our policymakers, government bodies and NGO’s, including educational authorities in UK & EU, and can be used as a tool to set out future true policies for De-Radicalisation processes within the British Diaspora with Kashmiri heritage.

To set out De-Radicalisation processes we really needs to understand the real issues and true needs, with a cultural dimension, within “Hard to Reach Communities” living in UK in the 21st century. In this presentation I am just focusing on British Muslims with Kashmiri heritage, from those who migrated to those born in the UK (first generation to fifth generation).