Access the View That for Ethnic Minorities Ehtnic Groups Use Religion as a Source of Defence Essay

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Assess the view that, for minority ethnic groups, the practice of religion and membership of religious groups is mainly in the form of cultural defence (33 marks) The term ethnic minority describes a group of people that are part of a community with shared characteristics. These groups tend to hold their religious faith as an important part of their identity. Due to the increase of immigrants, mainly Asians, Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshi and Caribbean migrants, Britain soon became known for its cultural diversity and religious pluralism. Many sociologists associate religion strongly with the idea of cultural defence and the practice of religion in turn strengthens the feeling of cultural defence. However, the view fails to recognise the cultural defence of majority groups, as the term ‘minority’ is dependent on location. Pakistanis may be the minority in Britain, but are obviously the majority in Pakistan. Religion among ethnic minorities is on the increase- those from ethnic minorities are more likely than Christians to practice their religion with 79% of Muslims, 74% of Sikhs and 70% of Hindus compared to only 39% of Christians. Furthermore, there is a growth of Mosques and temples, there are now over 1,700 of these over Britain, the same amount of Church of England churches closed down between 1969 and 2005. Bruce claimed that the practice of religion in minority ethnic groups is a form of cultural defence. This means that religion is being used as a way of bringing together a community in defence of a larger threat- the majority. Bruce sees religion for minority ethnic groups as a means of solidarity and pride. This boosts the individual’s self-esteem and promotes community cohesion. Mirza supports this view with her research on identity amongst young Muslims. She demonstrates how the later generations of young Muslims have created a strong

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