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Islam second biggest religion in Britain

Census 2001 reveals there are more than 1.5 million Muslims in England & Wales, constituting 3.1 per cent of the population.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:18 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

Although Britain remains an overwhelmingly Christian country, Islam is the second most popular religion.

This may be dismaying for many in the current situation but the fact is that Islam has grown faster with the immigration of Mirpuris in a sort of planned manner in the 70s. The rate of birth is high among them and the Bangladeshis, according to sources.

Census 2001 published on Thursday reveals there are more than 1.5 million Muslims in England and Wales, constituting 3.1 per cent of the population. There are 558,746 Hindus and 336,040 throughout UK. There are 267,711 Jews and 149,237 Jews.

Iqbal Sacraine, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain said the figures were a landmark event and social history in the making. "Up to now, Muslims have been statistically invisible, and thus easily marginalised. The census output is a strong signal to central and local government, social services and employers in particular that the needs of all sections of Britain's multicultural society must be fairly and equitably addressed."

In London, Tower Hamlets in East London has the highest proportion of Muslims, with Islam claiming four out of 10, or 36.4 per cent of the population. Harrow had the largest population (19.6) of Hindus, while Slough had the highest concentration of Sikhs constituting 9.1 per cent of its population.

The highest concentration of Jews was in Barnet (14.8 per cent) and Buddhists in Westminster (1.3 per cent). However, in Leicester one out of seven people is Hindu.

Christianity remains the biggest faith in England and Wales with 71.7 per cent of the population (42,558.000). The highest proportion of Christians is in North East, with more than eight out 10 people belonging to the faith. The most Christian district in England and Wales is St Helens, Merseyside(86.9 per cent). Islam has 1,547,000 Muslims in England and Wales and 1,591,207 throughout UK.

First Published: Dec 27, 2003 22:26 IST