Somalilandsun – As Scotland heads towards a historic referendum that could see it voting for independence from the United Kingdom on September 18, just like the rest of Scottish society, Scottish Muslims are also divided on which side they vote for.
Although there are only around 77,000 Muslims in Scotland, which has an overall population of just 5.2 million, their political opinions have been divided by the rival Better Together and Yes Scotland campaigns.
“We know about general voting patterns among the Muslim community not just in Scotland, but across the UK, that they usually vote for the Labour Party,” Dr Timothy Peace, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Edinburgh who specialises in research into British Muslims and political participation, told The National.
“I would expect in the Muslim community there would be the same kind of divisions and differences as in any other part of the community,” he said.
“I was a born and bred unionist, I believed in the British state,” said Scots Asians For Yes member Aamer Anwar, a Glascow resident of Pakistani origin. “But [what changed my views] was austerity,” he explained.
“When you look at how Scotland has the equivalent amount of oil resources as the state of Kuwait, yet you only have to look around at the poverty to see that those who have benefited have been the Westminster Treasury,” he said, adding “All that seems to be getting offered by London since the 2008 financial crisis has been more austerity, more austerity, more austerity.”
On the other hand, Sogand Azimi, a 19-year-old student at Glasgow Caledonian University and Scottish Labour Party pro-unionist, disagreed, saying “My commitment to the Labour Party, coming from an ethnic minority background, is from my belief in it being the party of equality, fighting for equal rights, not just for ethnic minorities but for all minorities.”
“I got involved in the Better Together campaign through the Labour Party – but even if I wasn’t involved in the Labour Party I’d still be voting No in September because I feel a strong sense of unity with everyone in England; we aren’t different to them and we are economically better off within the UK,” said the Iranian-born student.
Current polls suggest that around 40% of Scots will vote against independence while 30% are predicted to vote for it. The remaining 30% are undecided, but the ‘yes’ vote seems to becoming more and more popular as the referendum approaches.
At the moment, there is no official indication as to which way Scottish Muslims will vote, although Scotland’s leading Asian radio station, Awaz FM, found that nearly two-thirds of listeners were in favour of independence earlier this year
World Bulletin / News Desk