After the end of the Second World War and the break-up of the British Empire, South Asians were invited by British employers to fill jobs and to respond to acute labour shortages. In Birmingham, the first migrants took refuge in the neighborhoods of Small Heath, Sparkhill, Sparkbrook and Alum Rock-places, even then-known to be impoverished and segregated.
More recent immigrants, including refugees of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria, among others, have clustered in areas determined strategically by local authorities. But the ensuing strain on these established communities has resulted in a perpetual cycle of poverty, struggle and social exclusion.
As many of those crowding into the neighborhoods are Muslims, these areas are commonly referred to as “Muslim ghettos”. Muslim Ghettos deftly explores how a shift in population has slowly impacted a country that was once predominantly English.