Spotlight on faith and politics in Leicester


The religious composition of the UK differs hugely from place to place, as, of course, does its political landscape. Yet when it comes to debates about religion and public policy, there is a tendency in the British media and even in academia to focus on the national level, with much less attention being paid to the distinctive challenges faced in different local contexts and the varying impact of policies across the country.

To remedy this, every three months Public Spirit hosts a series of articles which place the spotlight on a particular city in the UK. These local spotlights give an insight into the character of a particular area and its local politics. Including perspectives from a range of local community and faith-based organisations, they look at how religious organisations are involved in the politics and governance of the area, and explore how policies developed in Whitehall are implemented locally.

Public Spirit’s first local spotlight is on Leicester, one of the most religiously diverse cities in the UK and a place commonly characterised as a ‘model’ multicultural city. Covering Leicester’s history, demographics and its current political challenges, the series examines the lessons Leicester holds for debates about multiculturalism, cohesion and the involvement of faith-based organisations in politics.

Public Spirit’s spotlight on Leicester includes:

  • An introductory profile of the city looking at migration and politics in Leicester and outlining how it became a ‘plural city’.
  • Two articles by Stephen H. Jones (University of Bristol) and Seán McLoughlin (University of Leeds), which in different ways question common assumptions about multicultural policies, both in Leicester and at a national level.
  • Three short reflections from community workers in the area, including John Hall (the St Philip’s Centre), Jawaahir Dahir (Somali Development Services) and Suleman Nagdi (the Federation of Muslim Organisations).
  • Resources for researchers, educators and policymakers, including maps of census data, recent reports on the city and guidance on recent academic research.