Kurds in the United Kingdom
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|Regions with significant populations|
|London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow|
|British English, Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Syriac|
|Islam (majority Sunni, minority Alevi), Zoroastrian, and a significant number of Yarsan, and Kurdish Christians|
|Related ethnic groups|
Kurdish people first arrived to Britain in large numbers during the 1980s, mostly from the disputed territories of Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Syria), fleeing the suppression of their language and culture.
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, drawing on a BBC source, the Kurdish community in the UK numbered around 50,000 in 2002, among which Iraqi Kurds make up the largest group, exceeding the numbers from Turkey and Iran. They have settled across the country including in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow.
"Kurdish" is not one of the predefined tick-box answers for the ethnicity question on the UK Census, but respondents are able to write in their preferred self-designation. In the 2011 Census, the number of respondents writing in "Kurdish" was 47,871 in England, 1,106 in Wales, 844 in Scotland and 20 in Northern Ireland. The number of people in England and Wales that speak Kurdish as their main language was recorded as 48,239. In Scotland, the figure was 924.
There have been reports about discrimination and cultural problems among Iraqi Kurds. There have also been honour killings among the Kurdish diaspora in the UK. Writing in 2009, criminologist Aisha Gill noted that little research had taken place into honour crimes in the UK, and that this lack of evidence was "particularly marked in the case of Iranian and Kurdish communities, where the incidence of honor crimes is increasing".
A report published by the Centre for Gender and Violence Research at the University of Bristol and the University of Roehampton in 2010 notes that "it is important to recognize that it is not possible to associate honour-based violence with one particular religion...or culture", but also concludes that "[h]onour-based violence remains prevalent in Kurdish communities in different locations", including the UK. The report finds that "the patriarchal or male-dominated values that underpin these communities often conflict with the values, and even laws, of mainstream UK society. This makes it particularly hard for second or third generation women to define their own values...Instances of HBV [honour-based violence] often result from conflicting attitudes towards life and family codes". Banaz Mahmod, a 20-year-old Iraqi Kurd woman from Mitcham, south London, was killed in 2006, in a murder orchestrated by her father, uncle and cousins. Her life and murder were presented in a documentary called Banaz: A Love Story, directed and produced by Deeyah Khan. Other examples include the first honour killing to be legally recognised in the UK, which was that of Heshu Yones, who was stabbed to death by her Kurdish father in London in 2002 when her family discovered she had a Lebanese Christian boyfriend, and the killing of Tulay Goren, a Kurdish Shia Muslim girl who immigrated with her family from Turkey. The Centre for Gender and Violence Research report finds that: "Both HBV survivors and women's NGOs working with them continue to encounter inadequate responses and poor practice which needs to be addressed, as well as potentially racist, judgmental and stigmatizing attitudes". The Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation has called for a national strategy to address the problem of honour killings. Other UK-based Kurdish organisations attempting to tackle the issue of honour killings include Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killing.
Notable Britons of Kurdish descent
- Caucher Birkar, mathematician and professor at University of Cambridge
- Dlawer Ala'Aldeen, professor of Clinical Microbiology and head of the Molecular Bacteriology and Immunology Group at University of Nottingham
- Tara Jaff,a prominent contemporary Kurdish musician specializing in harp
- Saad Eskander, academic and researcher
- Houzan Mahmoud, women rights activist
- Nadhim Zahawi, the first British-Kurdish Member of Parliament
- Shwan Jalal, footballer
- "To whom do I turn when I am invisible?: The experience of Kurdish workers who have problems at work?" (PDF). London Metropolitan University. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
- "Recording Kurdish history in London". Untold London. 9 March 2006. Retrieved 29 December 2008.
- Communities and Local Government (2009), The Iraqi Muslim Community in England: Understanding Muslim Ethnic Communities, Communities and Local Government, p. 35, ISBN 978-1-4098-1263-0
- "Kurdish culture in the UK". Kurdish Human Rights Project. January 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2009.[dead link]
- Dissanayake, Samanthi (2008-12-09). "UK Kurds fight separate battles". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-29.
- "Ethnic Group". Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
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- "Kurds in Hull". the Guardian. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 18 May 2016.
- Ghosh, Palash R. "Honor Crimes in Britain Far More Prevalent than Formerly Thought". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 December 2011.
- Gill, Aisha (2009). "Honor Killings and the Quest for Justice in Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in the United Kingdom". Criminal Justice Policy Review. 20 (4): 475–494. doi:10.1177/0887403408329604.
- Begikhani, Nazand; Gill, Aisha; Hague, Gill; Ibraheem, Kawther (November 2010). "Final Report: Honour-based Violence (HBV) and Honour-based Killings in Iraqi Kurdistan and in the Kurdish Diaspora in the UK" (PDF). Centre for Gender and Violence Research, University of Bristol and Roehampton University. Retrieved 19 May 2016.
- "Banaz Mahmod 'honour' killing cousins jailed for life". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
- Rose, Jacqueline (5 November 2009). "A Piece of White Silk". London Review of Books. 31 (21): 5–8.
- Bingham, John (17 December 2009). "Honour killing: father convicted of the killing of Tulay Goren". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- Talwar, Divya; Ahmad, Athar (9 July 2015). "'Honour crime': 11,000 UK cases recorded in five years". BBC News. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
- Devi, Sharmila (9 November 2013). "Britain's Only Kurdish MP: Kurdistan a Beacon of Hope for Region". Rudaw. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- Nelson, Craig (17 October 2014). "We're all one big happy family, says Bury stopper Shwan Jalal". Bury Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.