Muslims in Britain
According to the UK 2011 census, the Muslim population of England and Wales was 2.7 million (4.8% of the population) making Muslims the second largest religious group. The one million Muslims that live in London account for 12.4% of the city’s population.
In 2011 it was reported that the United Kingdom had around 100,000 converts to Islam; 66% of them were women.
The top 20 local authorities with the highest percentage of Muslims in 2011 were:
London Borough of Tower Hamlets 34.5% 87,696
London Borough of Newham 32.0% 98,456
Blackburn with Darwen 27.4% 38,817
City of Bradford 24.7% 129,041
Luton 24.6% 49,991
London Borough of Redbridge 23.3% 64,999
Slough 23.3% 32,655
London Borough of Waltham Forest 21.9% 56,541
Birmingham 21.8% 234,411
Leicester 18.6% 61,440
London Borough of Brent 18.6% 58,036
City of Westminster 18.3% 40,073
Metropolitan Borough of Oldham 17.7% 39,879
Pendle 17.4% 15,579
London Borough of Enfield 16.7% 52,141
Manchester 15.8% 79,496
London Borough of Ealing 15.7% 53,198
Kirklees 14.5% 61,280
London Borough of Haringey 14.2% 36,130
London Borough of Hackney 14.1% 34,727
Islam literally means ‘submission’. The religion of Islam is based on belief in one God (in Arabic, Allah). It was founded by the Prophet Muhammad in the cities of Mecca and Medina, in present day Saudi Arabia. God revealed to the Prophet Muhammad the Qur’an, the sacred book of Islam, which Muslims believe is the verbatim word of God. Muslims believe that the religion this created, however, was not a new message but simply a final restatement of God’s messages to the Hebrew Prophets and to Jesus, the Jewish and Christian faiths.
Muslims follow the ‘Five Pillars’ and the teachings, sayings and examples of the Prophet Muhammad – called the Sunnah and composed of Hadiths.
(1) Shahadah, the two testimonies of faith – “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger.”
(2) Salat, the five daily prayers: fajr: dawn, before sunrise; zuhr: midday, after the sun passes its highest; ‘asr: the late part of the afternoon; maghrib: just after sunset; ‘isha: between sunset and midnight
(3) Zakat, giving alms (charity) – giving of one-fortieth, 2.5%, of one’s income and savings annually to the poor and destitute
(4) Sawm, fasting – fasting annually during the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.
(5) Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca – a religious duty for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so at least once in his or her lifetime.