Islam in London

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There were 607,083 Muslims reported in the 2001 census in the Greater London area.[1] In the 2011 census Office for National Statistics, the proportion of Muslims in London had risen to 12.4% of the population (21% of England's Muslims). In the boroughs of Newham and Tower Hamlets, the percentages of Muslims were over 30%.


Proportion stating they were Muslim in the 2011 census in Greater London.

The first Muslims to settle in London were lascars, that is, Bengali and Yemeni sailors from the 19th century. Many Muslims from the Indian sub-continent served in the British Army and British Indian 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 these Commonwealth countries and former colonies. Following the partition of India, many came from Pakistan especially the Punjab and Azad Kashmir in addition to the Indian state of Gujarat. This initial wave of immigration of the 1950s and 60s was followed by migrants from Cyprus, Sylhet Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan. Many Muslims also arrived from various other countries, although the percentage is far smaller than from South Asia. Amongst those from other countries, Muslims from Yemen, Somalia and Turkey have significant numbers, whereas those from Malaysia, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya represent smaller fractions. Today, London's Muslims come from all over the world and there is a small but growing group of converts.

21st century[edit]

Most of London's Muslims are descendants of immigrants from the South Asia, particularly Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and India. There is also a large number of Muslims from Arab countries. Among African Muslims there are large Maghreb (including Algerian and Egyptian) communities and Somali communities, as well as the equally large 200,000 members of the West African Muslim community. In addition, London is home to large Turkish and Bosnian Muslim communities, both of which comprise over 30,000 members. The city also has a high number of restaurants that serve halal food (around 2,300).

However, this influx of immigrants has led to community relations issues. 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 anti-immigrant British National Party gained their highest vote by proportion, 16.9%, in the 2005 general election in Barking.[2]

In 2013, it was reported there were 13,400 Muslim-owned businesses in London, creating more than 70,000 jobs and representing just over 33 per cent of Small to Medium Enterprises in London. [3]

Notable mosques and other institutions[edit]

London's first Mosque opened by Mohamed Dollie in 1895, Albert Street, modern Camden. Prof. Ron Geeves states this in his biography of Abdullah Quilliam. The Mosque relocates to Euston Road in 1899 where the present Wellcome Collection stands. Mohamed Dollie was of Scottish and Malay ancestry. Furthermore it is the subject of a forthcoming documentary with Muslim History Tours.[4][5][6]

The Fazl Mosque in Southfields, the first purpose built mosque in London, inaugurated in 1926

The first purpose-built mosque in London is in Southfields, Wandsworth. The Fazl Mosque was inaugurated in 1926 as a project of the Ahmadiyya community of Qadian, India. Since 1984, the mosque and its surrounding buildings have been the residence of the Khalifatul Masih caliphs and therefore, the international headquarters of the Community.

One of the first large mosques was on Brick Lane, in a listed building which started life as a church in the 18th century and was converted into a synagogue in the 19th, reflecting the changing waves of immigration, from Huguenots to Eastern European Jews to Bengalis. Soon after the Brick Lane Mosque opened, two large mosques were built, the East London Mosque (with the adjoining London Muslim Centre and Maryam Centre) on Whitechapel Road not far from Spitalfields, and the London Central Mosque in Regent's Park.

Other mosques in Inner London include the Brixton Mosque, in the midst of an Afro-Caribbean area, and the Finsbury Park Mosque (also known as the North London Central Mosque).

The Suleymaniye Mosque on Kingsland Road serves a largely Turkish community. Named after the famous landmark in Istanbul, it was purpose-built and opened in 1999. Shacklewell Lane Mosque was the first Turkish mosque in the United Kingdom.[7] It was established by Turlish Cypriots in 1977, also in a converted synagogue.[8][9] The nearby Aziziye Mosque in Stoke Newington was converted from a cinema.

In Outer London are the Croydon Mosque, the very large Baitul Futuh Mosque in Merton, and the Abbey Mills Mosque in Stratford. Also notable are the Central Mosque Wembley, Leytonstone Mosque, and Harrow Central Mosque.

The Islamic Centre of England is an educational establishment that opened in 1998. London is also home to The Islamic College, a college and university which offers A-levels, BA, and MA degrees in coordination with Middlesex University.

Prayers at the Finsbury Park Mosque

Most spoken languages[edit]

as first language

as second language

Jamia Masjid in East Ham

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Area: London - Religion (UV15) (Office for National Statistics) accessed 2 March 2009
  2. ^ Milmo, Cahal (2006-04-20). "How the BNP is gaining ground in Barking with a campaign of lies and distortions". The Independent. London. Retrieved 2010-05-05.
  3. ^ "London's Mecca rich: the rise of the Muslim multi-millionaires".
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Geaves, Ron (2001), "The Haqqani Naqshbandi: A Study of Apocalyptic Millennnialism within Islam", in Porter, Stanley E.; Hayes, Michael A.; Tombs, David (eds) (eds.), Faith in the Millennium, Sheffield Academic Press, ISBN 1-84127-092-XCS1 maint: Extra text: editors list (link).
  8. ^ Çoştu, Yakup (2004), "Londra'da Türklere Ait Dini Organizasyonlar" (PDF), Hitit Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Hitit University, 8 (16): 77–100, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-17
  9. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher; Keay, Julia; Keay, John (2010), The London Encyclopedia, Macmillan, ISBN 1-4050-4925-1
  10. ^ BBC Voices Multilingual Nation. "Turkish today by Viv Edwards". Retrieved 2008-10-29.

External links[edit]