SCOTLAND'S 2014 Independence referendum was the catalyst for many young Scottish Muslims engaging with politics and was not perceived as ethnically defined, a new report has claimed.
The study by academics at Newcastle University found that most younger Muslims saw Scottish nationalism as inclusive, "progressive, civic and liberal" with the poll itself often cited as "engendering an interest in mainstream Scottish politics".
The research found a minority of Muslims were concerned about the prospect of breaking from the UK, citing doubts about the economic viability and security of an independent Scotland.
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The report, by the university's Institute for Social Renewal, states: "For many participants, then, a core political concern is creating an inclusive and open Scotland, with independence, for some, being a way of achieving this. This is linked to common concern about racism, Islamophobia and general intolerance in Scottish and British society."
It also found that for some of the young Muslims who took part in the study found engagement with UK, Scottish and local politics was particularly important in that it countered a perception that they were only concerned with world events.
The report's authors said there was a shortage of nuanced understandings about the political concerns of young Muslims and the studies which did exist were mainly focused on England, which they said had both a different political, social and cultural context while Scotland also had a distinct history of Muslim migration and settlement.
They add: "It is frequently considered that Muslims find the Scottish context to be more welcoming and easier to identify with than that of other parts of the UK."
It states that the majority of those who took part in the study and were eligible to vote did so in the referendum.
Elsewhere in the study it claims young Muslims in Scotland found the UK Government's 'Prevent' campaign was especially problematic, with a number of participants claiming it contributed to a general suspicion about the faith and put people off engaging in politics.
It found young Muslims were anxious about how the faith was represented and talked about by American politicians and the possible consequences for Scotland "in terms of potentially legitimising a political discourse that is hostile to Muslims".
It added: "Moreover there was a sense of frustration that Muslims were often expected to speak out actively in opposition to terrorist attacks, as other denominations were not expected to do the same in similar situations."