UK Muslims amongst the worst affected by cost of living crisis - report
A new report reveals the huge impact the cost of living crisis is having on UK Muslims.
According to research by Muslim Census, around one in five British Muslims have used food banks since last August, a figure that rises to nearly 50% for those in the lower wage bracket, due to the rising cost of living.
A staggering 1 in 4 British Muslims reported having requested Zakat in the last twelve months, while two-thirds of British Muslims said their ability to afford household bills was one of their main concerns about their future financial stability.
With 50% of the Muslim population considered to be in poverty, compared to 18% of the national population, the research re-affirms how British Muslims are disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis.
The study, supported by Algbra and the National Zakat Foundation, surveyed over 1,500 Muslim adults looking at how the past year has impacted their lives – from their mental wellbeing to their savings and ability to afford household bills and expenses.
"We know the current financial system is not doing enough for those very communities and this report highlights how one such community is disproportionately affected by the cost of living crisis," said Digital finance platform Algbra.
The report found that 54% of all Muslims noted some level of difficulty in paying their energy bills in the last three months, compared to 1 in 3 people at the national level.
To manage, 65% had to take out some form of debt in the past year, while almost one-third reported missing meals.
The strain extends beyond the financial, with three-quarters of British Muslims reporting the crisis affecting their mental health — almost 20% indicate a very significant impact, which rises to 82% for those in the lower wage brackets. Only 1 in 3 feel comfortable talking about debt with family.
The survey revealed differences by region and ethnicity, with Black, African British Muslims and residents of the North West being the most adversely affected by growing living expenses.
Here are some testimonies of Muslims through the first year of the cost of living crisis.
"Very worried, and also worried about people who have less than me and my kids and how they will cope in the future."
"I once asked my local mosque if I could access zakat payment from them in order to feed my children. I was told clearly that no one in the UK can be that needy so all their zakat collections go towards efforts to alleviate poverty abroad. I was at my lowest point but as a single mother, my voice could not be heard. Alhumdulillah, still alive and missing meals with a smile."
"How do I sound Islamic choices regarding mortgages and loans when interest rates are so high and the Islamic alternatives are often more expensive?"