updated 5/15/2006 8:40:58 AM ET 2006-05-15T12:40:58

Muslims are more likely than other religious minorities to be unemployed and live in poor housing in the most deprived parts of England, according to a government study Monday.

Half of English Muslims over the age of 25 are not involved in the formal labor market and a third live in the most deprived areas of the country, according to the study commissioned by the government.

Muslims are also particularly vulnerable to long-term illness and experience poor levels of education, said the researchers from the universities of Derby, Warwick, Birmingham and Oxford.

“Taking the Muslim population as a whole, they face some of the most acute conditions of multiple deprivation,” the report said.

Sticking close together
The report said members of the Muslim, Sikh and Hindu communities were likely to remain concentrated in the same areas because families want to stay close together and many prefer to live near their places of worship.

A government spokeswoman said the academics had reviewed a variety of data, including information from the 2001 national census.

The government will use the study in its work to encourage equal opportunities for members of all religious communities, the spokeswoman said.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said the research showed the poverty and other deep-seated problems that have contributed to the marginalization and disaffection felt among many young Muslims.

“We hope that this report serves to highlight the need to develop policies that are able reach into these communities and fulfill their needs,” Sacranie said.

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