Throughout the world, among the many major themes that humanity has chosen to represent itself, religion is a major factor that has contributed to the shaping and refining of the species and of many cultures and civilizations throughout time. Religion is a major part of life for countless people globally, and many different belief systems and theological ideas have been produced in the past, just as new ideas continue to sprout today. When immigrants move themselves and their families to new lands, whether for personal or practical reasons, they bring many things with them that can have an impact on the culture and perspectives of native residents, and religion is among the foremost of these. Religions have been spread across countries, regions, and even continents for thousands of years, and many people travel with the distinct intent of talking to others about their beliefs and encouraging them to take part in their specific religious rituals and customs. Being religious as an immigrant isn’t only about opportunities to make connections with others, however; some immigrants may experience challenges with this area as they work towards achieving citizenship and creating a new life. Though the United Kingdom is often recognized for its widespread acceptance of various religions and religious traditions, it can nevertheless be a difficult environment for immigrants whose beliefs are distinct from those which are best-represented by others.
When newcomers enter the United Kingdom, they are often struck by the sense of multiculturalism and acceptance that can be found throughout the major cities as well as in rural areas. While there are destined to be some residents that harbor negative feelings for immigrants in general, the majority of people recognize the potential for enrichment that newcomers bring to the UK, and are supportive of efforts to integrate with the community. This effort towards integration must be made, however, in order for most immigrants to get the full benefit of life in the United Kingdom, and through applying for citizenship, immigrants allow for a complete integration that can help merge the past with the present and create opportunities for sharing and exchanging ideas and values. Often, these ideas and values have their roots in religious thought, and whether immigrants practice faiths that are well known and established in the UK or which are less prominent, the achievement of citizenship means that one’s religious ideas become part of the country’s fabric.
In times of difficulty during the process of seeking citizenship, immigrants may find great comfort in the ability to practice their religion, and many may find that immigrant communities in larger cities are dedicated to upholding and continuing the religious practices of people from various parts of the world. With or without a familiar group with which to practice, however, immigrants who become citizens can express themselves in meaningful ways, from bringing their religious values to the ballot box to working towards the organization of fellow adherents or those of similar faiths.