Islam in London

Islam in London

Islam is London's largest and most significant minority religion. There are an estimated 1.3 million Muslims in the Greater London area, most concentrated in the East London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.


The first Muslims to settle in London were Yemenite sailors in the 19th century. Many Muslims from the Commonwealth served in the British army in the First and Second World Wars. In the wave of immigration that followed the Second World War, many Muslims emigrated to the UK from Commonwealth countries. At first, most came from Pakistan and the Indian state of Gujarat. This initial wave of immigration was followed by migrants from Bangladesh, then called East Pakistan. Many people also arrived from various provinces of Pakistan (especially the Punjab region), as well as from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and the Arab world. Today, London's Muslims come from all over the world.

Muslims in London today

Most of London's Muslims are descendants of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, particularly Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. There is also a considerable Muslims from Somalia (London counts the largest Somali diaspora in the Western world) and Arab countries. In addition, London is home to large Turkish and Bosnian Muslim communities, both of which comprise over 30,000 members. London has the largest number of Muslim converts in the Western world. The city counts an estimated 100,000 White British and around 35,000 Black Caribbean converts. London also has a high number of restaurants that serve halal food (around 2300).

However, there have been problems in community relations. In the East End of London, there is a lot of tension in the area around East Ham, Barking and Dagenham between Muslims and non-Muslims. The British National Party gained their highest vote by proportion, 16.9%, in the 2005 General Election in Barking [ [ How the BNP is gaining ground in Barking with a campaign of lies and distortions - UK Politics, UK - The Independent ] ] and has 12 councillors on Barking & Dagenham Borough Council. [ [ Your councillors ] ] West London has also seen some conflict between Muslims and Sikhs at sixth-form colleges. [,%20Isleworth ]

Although there have traditionally been more Muslim politicians in the Midlands and North England, many members of London's Muslim community are influential players in local Londonian politics.


Since most of London's Muslims have roots in South Asia, many follow the Sunni Hanafi school of Fiqh or religious law. Sunni Muslims from the African continent mostly follow the Maliki school. Somalis, Yemenis, Malaysians and Indonesians follow the Shafi`i madhab. While roughly 98% of Arab Muslims in the London area are Sunni, there is a Shia minority from Iraq and Lebanon. Others Shi'ites also come from Iran. Arab Sunnis are either Hanbali (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Egypt), Hanafi (Iraq), or Maliki (Morocco, Algeria).

Ten thousands of converts to Islam in the London area follow the Sunni Salafi madhab, which was first developed in Saudi Arabia. The Salafi school counts many young converts from British and Caribbean backgrounds, with a few coming from countries with an historically strong presence of Islam.

Ethnic Background

British Muslim population origin. Fact|date=September 2008

*Pakistani - 942,000 (mostly from Punjab and Azad Kashmir the ethnic groups Punjabi, Pashtun and Kashmiri)
*Bangladeshi - East Bengal - 498,000 (from Sylhet)
*Indian - 455,000 (from Gujarati, West Bengal, Rajastan, Kerala, the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Bihar)
* Asian Other - 140,000 (Australia, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Caucasian region, Maldives, Malaysia, Turkey, Turkish Kurds, Iraqi Kurds, Thailand, Iran and Indonesia)
* African Other - 258,000 (Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, DR Congo , etc.)
*Somali - 225,000 (largest Somali diaspora)
*Arab - 160,000 (Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi-Arabia, Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Morocco and other Arab countries)
* Mixed - 85,000 (those of mixed race)
*Eastern Europeans - 84,000 (mostly from Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Russia)
*English - 82,000 (close to 100% converts or children of converts)
*Caribbean - 38,000 (close to 100% converts or children of converts, from all Caribbean Islands especially Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia and Trinidad)
*Black Other - 28,000 (Black British, Black Arab, Afro-American, Black European, and Black Brazilian)
*Irish - 10,000 (100% converts or children of converts)
*Scottish - 7,000 (100% converts or children of converts)
*Welsh - 6,000 (100% converts or children of converts)
*Polish - 4,000 (100% converts or children of converts)
* Chinese - 500 to 5000 mainly (from Hong kong, and East Turkministan,)
* Others - 170,000


Local municipalities with large Muslim constituencies include: Fact|date=September 2007
* Tower Hamlets - 110,200
* Newham - 86,900
* Brent - 64,600
* Ealing - 54,000
* Waltham Forest - 49,700
* Hounslow - 45,400
* Hackney - 39,000
* Croydon - 37,800
* Haringey - 34,100
* Lambeth - 30,300
* Redbridge - 28,000
* Southwark - 27,100
* Lewisham - 25,200
* Wandsworth - 22,600
* Barnet - 18,200


External links

* [ Reassessing what we collect website – Muslim London] History of Muslim London with objects and images
* [ Islam in London: Documentary about Brixton Mosque]

ee also

*London Muslim Centre
*London Central Mosque
*North London Central Mosque
*Londonistan (term)
*Islam in the United Kingdom
*Islamism in London
*Religion in London

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