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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Religion not race segregates city
Muslims were more likely to be "trapped" in deprived areas, the study said
London is far more segregated on religious grounds than by race, new research reveals.

The university of East London has created a map showing the city as a patchwork of religious enclaves.

It show that in some areas, minority religions make up 80% of the population.

Only 3% of London's seven million residents live in areas classed as racially segregated, but 25% live in religiously-segregated neighbourhoods.

The study also questioned whether ministers are right - after the 2001 race riots and the 7 July bombings - to attempt to tackle segregation.

Forge links

The findings indicated living in segregated communities could actually benefit some of the minorities involved, although Muslims were more likely to be "trapped" in deprived areas and less likely to forge links with other groups living around them.

Professor Allan Brimicombe, author of the study based on census data, said: "Traditionally the amount of residential segregation in London has been looked at in terms of ethnicity.

Any government plan that talks about 'parallel lives' and a lack of integration being a bad thing is missing the point - it's not bad for everybody
Professor Allan Brimicombe

"By ethnicity there is not very much residential segregation. But when you turn it around and look at religious self-identity we see there is a lot of segregation in London by minority religious groups."

The city's religious breakdown was then compared with information indicating deprivation, such as educational qualifications and housing types.

"We found that a level of segregation actually seems to improve the lot of people living in areas that are segregated along religious self-identity lines," said the author.

Muslims 'trapped'

"The Jews, Hindus and Sikhs seem to be better off in areas that are dominated by their own religion, except for the Muslim-dominated areas which get progressively worse off as they become more segregated.

"Any government plan that talks about 'parallel lives' and a lack of integration being a bad thing is missing the point - it's not bad for everybody.

"But for one group, the Muslims, they seem to be trapped in a spiral where they can't seem to move out of high deprivation areas."

Concentrated communities of Muslims are found in the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham; Jews in Harrow, Barnet and north Hackney; and Hindus in Brent.


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