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February 14, 2015

Muslim population in Britain growing fast

National

February 14, 2015

LONDON: The Muslim population of England and Wales is growing faster than the overall population, with a higher proportion of children and a lower ratio of elderly people, but Muslims still form small minority of the overall population, according to an analysis of official data.
The Muslim Council of Britain’s (MCB) study of data from the 2011 census found that one in three Muslims is under 15, compared with fewer than one in five overall. In 2011, 2.71 million Muslims lived in England and Wales, compared with 1.55 million in 2001. There were also 77,000 Muslims in Scotland and 3,800 in Northern Ireland.
Dr Sundas Ali, a sociologist at Oxford University who analysed the data and prepared the report ‘British Muslims in Numbers: A Demographic, Socio-economic and Health profile of Muslims in Britain’, told The News that “out of the 2,706,066 Muslims in Britain, the number of Pakistanis is 1,028,459 (that is 38% of the total Muslim population)”.
She said that Muslims formed almost “one in 20” and this contrasted with popular perceptions held by Britons who overstate the proportion of Muslims in the country by a factor of four.Responding to the report, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “I believe that every person, whatever their background and circumstances, should have an equal chance to thrive.
“What’s not in doubt is that British Muslims can be proud of the contribution they make to our country.”Clegg added: “Drawing on analysis like this, together we can help create jobs, drive growth and enable more people to get on – building the stronger economy and fairer society we want for Britain’s future.”
Dr Sundas Ali told The News that the research showed that there is a high level of English language competence amongst Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. “Those struggling with speaking English comprise approximately 6 percent of the Muslim population. The Muslim community is ethnically diverse with significant numbers of

Muslims from every ethnicity category recorded in the census. The largest ethnic category is ‘Asian’. One in twelve Muslims are from white ethnic groups and 10% are from black ethnic groups. The ethnic diversity is increasing as the proportion of Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslims is falling and the proportion of Muslims in the ‘Black African, Black other’ and ‘Asian other’ is rising.”
She said that 41% of households of the Pakistani ethnic category reside in property that is owned with a mortgage (or loan or shared ownership), which is higher than the overall population (34%).
The report reveals that the overwhelming majority of Muslims (73%) see their foremost national identity as British. 33% of the Muslim age profile were under 15, conveying a youthful population which is a strategic asset at a time when the general proportion of senior citizens is increasing.
76% of the Muslim population live in four regions: London, West Midlands, the North West and Yorkshire and The Humber. There are 35 Local Authority Districts with a Muslim population of 10% or more.
The report finds that deprivation in Muslim communities is a key concern. 46% (1.22 million) of the Muslim population resides in the 10% most deprived Local Authority Districts in England.
The report states that there is a higher rate of unemployment and economic inactivity in the Muslim population compared to the overall population. Part of this is because ‘Muslims face a double penalty – racial and cultural discrimination - in entering the labour market, as is confirmed by numerous studies.’
The report also urges mosque committees to have a greater representation of the ethnic diversity that exist in Muslim society, as well as of young people and women. Mosques must also have a role in disseminating good advice on health, as well as tackling social issues such as homelessness, higher divorce rates and social inequality.