Armed Forces: Muslims

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 22nd December 2015.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Equality)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to encourage British Muslims to join the armed forces to tackle ISIL.

Photo of Penny Mordaunt Penny Mordaunt Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)

The Ministry of Defence is working up plans to meet the Government’s commitment to increase the number of black, Asian, ethnic minority (BAME) recruits into the Armed Forces to 10% by 2020, and have allocated additional resources for this purpose.

Diversity and inclusion is a Defence Board priority and we recognise that there are challenges we need to address and we are engaging with all communities that are under-represented in the Armed Forces to consider ways and means of doing so.

Some examples of actions we have taken that are aimed at increasing BAME, including Muslim, recruitment are:

Highlighting the benefits of a career in the Armed Forces including the ability to develop a trade or gain professional skills; as well as being a force for good, for example through conducting humanitarian operations.

Trying to build mutual understanding between the Armed Forces and local communities including highlighting the role that Muslims have played in operations from World War One to the present day.

Tackling the perception that there are no role models for Muslims in the Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces have recently (October 2015) won two of the seven awards being presented at the Race for Opportunity Awards. The Armed Forces Muslim Association, of which the Chief of Defence Staff is patron, won the Public Sector Employee Network Award and the Royal Air Force won the Future Workforce Award for their STEM/Employability Skills programme.

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