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1 - British Muslims, Ethnicity and Health Inequalities: Contemporary Issues and Debates

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 October 2023

Sufyan Abid Dogra
Affiliation:
Bradford Institute for Health Research
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Summary

This book presents social diagnoses on how and why British Muslims live with health inequalities and how they experience difficulties in accessing health services. It explores the scope of British Muslims’ involvement in health promotion initiatives and in the delivery of preventive health interventions. We use religion, ethnicity, deprivation and marginalisation as representative sites of embodiment and context in which British Muslim bodies negotiate being fit or unfit when juxtaposed with prevalent health standards. We debate British Muslims’ patterns of engagement with healthcare systems in the UK and the subsequent marginalisation they encounter when benefiting from those systems. We discuss the unequal distribution of health benefits to British Muslims that are otherwise universally offered to all citizens through the UK healthcare system. Using reflexive, interpretive, critical and evidence-based, data-driven scenarios from across the country, we identify loopholes in the British healthcare system and what is missing in its policy, delivery and health promotion initiatives for marginalised communities living with disadvantages. We provide contemporary situation analysis on what makes British Muslims live with the worst health outcomes from within all deprived social groups and ethnicities in the country.

The idea of a pioneering edited book on this topic was conceived during a national conference on the health experiences of British Muslims that I organised in 2018 at the University of Bradford in collaboration with the Muslims in Britain Research Network and the Born in Bradford (BiB) study. Participants and speakers shared their learning, observations and findings on how British Muslims experience structural inequalities that result in higher chances of them living with ill-health indicators by virtue of their religious, ethnic, migration and working-class identities and positionalities. The health indicators become worse when children, women and minorities within minority British Muslims are exposed to these multiple layers of systematic inequalities. Targeted health interventions and health promotion initiatives in the UK are generally designed by experts who rely upon data that is collected by making ethnicity and economic class in the UK a unit of analysis. The data collected for health promotion interventions on indicators such as ethnicity and economic class has its advantages in certain areas of health promotion, for example cancer screening, obesity rates and diabetes.

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Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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