- In some parts of London, close to half of the population are now Muslims
- On current trends they will be the majority in those areas within a decade
- More are under ten years old than any other age group, indicating future generations
England is home to more than three million Muslims for the first time ever, new figures show.
The number in the country has doubled in just over a decade as a result of soaring immigration and high birth rates.
In some parts of London, close to half the population are now Muslims, according to detailed analysis by the Office for National Statistics obtained by The Mail on Sunday. On current trends they will be the majority in those areas within a decade.
Half of those following Islam in England and Wales were born abroad while more are under ten years old than in any other age group, indicating their numbers will grow still further in generations to come.
The three million milestone – representing one in 20 people across the country – will reignite debate about the changing face of Britain amid growing calls for all Muslims to integrate into society.
Education watchdog Ofsted has warned that schools could be branded failing if veil-wearing by students or teachers is deemed a ‘barrier to learning’ and yesterday Britain’s most senior judge, Lord Neuberger, said there were ‘serious difficulties’ with witnesses giving evidence in criminal trials with covered faces.
David Cameron has called on Muslim women to help the fight against extremism by learning English, while Theresa May is setting up an independent review of Islamic courts amid fears that the Sharia code discriminates against women.
Another review, ordered by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, is investigating fears that the growing number of Muslims behind bars – now one in five inmates in Category A jails – is fuelling radicalisation.
But there is also a backlash against what many Muslims see as Islamophobic stigmatisation, with some campaigning against the Government’s ‘Prevent’ agenda which calls on communities to report suspected terrorist sympathisers.
Trouble has flared at public rallies held by nationalist groups against Islam.
Former equalities chief Trevor Phillips sparked outrage last week by claiming that some Muslims will always remain apart, saying ‘it may be that they see the world differently to the rest of us’.
Last night, Lord Green of Deddington, the former diplomat who chairs Migration Watch UK, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘This is clear evidence of the way in which mass immigration is rapidly changing the nature of our society.
The Home Secretary was right in her conference speech to point to the potential pressures on social cohesion.’
The rapid growth of the Muslim population of England and Wales is revealed in unprecedented depth by the new ONS figures.
Britain’s most senior judge, Lord Neuberger, said there were ‘serious difficulties’ with witnesses giving evidence in criminal trials with covered faces
In 1991 it stood at just under one million – 950,000 – representing only 1.9 per cent of the total. At the time of the next Census a decade later, there were 1,546,626 Muslims in the country – three per cent of the total.
But by 2011, the Muslim population of England and Wales was 2,706,066 – representing 4.8 per cent of the overall number. As the ONS noted, this represented a 75 per cent jump in the space of a decade.
New figures published for the first time this month show that the rise has continued, with a record 3,046,607 Muslims across England and Wales in 2014 – representing 5.4 per cent of the population.
Across Great Britain, the total rises to 3,114,992, and of those slightly more than half (1,554,022) were born overseas.
The vast majority – 1,484,060 – came from outside the European Union. A detailed breakdown obtained by this newspaper shows that Muslims are much younger than the general population. One in four Muslims in England and Wales – 746,000 – is aged under ten. In the whole country, the proportion is about one in seven.
The ONS has also identified eight areas around the country where Muslims make up a significant number of local residents.
In the East London borough of Tower Hamlets the proportion stood at 45.6 per cent in 2014, while in neighbouring Newham it is 40.8.
Muslims account for 29 per cent of the population in Blackburn; 26 per cent in Slough; 25.7 per cent in Luton; 23 per cent in Birmingham; 20 per cent in Leicester; and 18 per cent in Manchester.
The Muslim population will rise further as a result of the unprecedented surge in refugees from Middle Eastern and North African countries trying to reach Western Europe in the past year.
A record 5,095 asylum applications were made to the UK in October 2015, latest figures show, with one in ten made by Syrians.
Ministers are under pressure to accept thousands of lone children into the country from the squalid camps in France, but are instead only offering to take those still near the areas ravaged by civil war and Islamic State.
As of April, police will be required to make detailed records of Islamophobic attacks amid concerns that the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes is on the rise in the wake of terrorist attacks by Islamic State.
A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said: ‘This statistic highlights the diversity in modern Britain, and the need that this is reflected in all spheres of life, from top management opportunities to political representation.’
Baroness Cox, who is trying to push through a Bill that would outlaw gender discrimination in Sharia courts, said: ‘Other communities that have come to this country have assimilated, but there is a real concern about these closed communities.’