The Challenge and Experience of Belonging Among Young Muslims in the ‘Problematised’ City: an investigation in Birmingham, England

2020-05-28T15:04:52Z (GMT) by Christopher Allen


This article investigates the experience of belonging among young Muslims in the problematised city of Birmingham in England. In doing so, it considers the extent to which the problematisation of the city as also its Muslim communities, shape and influence the relationship between young Muslims and Birmingham.


This research was qualitatively designed and undertaken in the city of Birmingham from 2017 to 2019. Using focus groups, the research draws on data gathered from 125 respondents

aged between 18 and 25 years of age all of whom identified as Muslim.


For the young Muslims engaged, experiences of belonging can be understood to occur in three distinct ways. The first is the relation with the city as something of an abstract entity, identifying with being from Birmingham or being ‘Brummie’. The second is the experience of ‘home’ in relation to what the respondents referred to as ‘Muslim areas’. The third relates to the city centre and perception of risk and victimisation. The findings suggest that the impact of problematisation is therefore rather more implicit than it is explicit.


This article generates new knowledge about the experience and everyday lives of young Muslims in the city of Birmingham. In doing so, it affords new insights into how they identify with and relate to the city thereby contributing to the existing scholarly canon relating to belonging and home. It considers a minority group that is seen to be hard to reach and thereby under-researched.