Islam in London

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Angled view of the East London Mosque from Whitechapel Road.

Islam is London's largest minority religion. There were 607,083 Muslims reported in the 2001 census in the Greater London area.[1] Many Muslims are concentrated in London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

In the 2011 census Office for National Statistics, the proportion of Muslims in London had risen to 12.4% of the population (40% of England's Muslims). In Newham and Tower Hamlets, the percentages of Muslims were over 30%.


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

The first Muslims to settle in London were Bengali and Yemeni sailors from the 19th century. Many Muslims from the Commonwealth 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. Initially, many came from Pakistan especially the Punjab and Azad Kashmir and 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]

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

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 British National Party gained their highest vote by proportion, 16.9%, in the 2005 General Election in Barking[2] and has 12 councillors on Barking & Dagenham Borough Council.[3]

It is also home to The Islamic College, an Islamic college and university which offers A-levels, BA, and MA degrees in coordination with Middlesex University.

Ethnic background[edit]

The Turkish community in London[4]

London Muslim population origin

(UK: more than 1,000,000)

(UK: around 500,000)

(UK: around 500,000)

(UK: 200,000-250,000)

(UK: 240,000)

(UK: 220,000)

(UK: 330,000 that are Muslims and 1,300,000 non-muslims)

(UK: 100,000-150,000)

(UK: 100,000)

Most spoken languages[edit]

as first language

as second language


Local municipalities with large Muslim constituencies include:[citation needed]

- Bangladeshis, Somalis, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Pakistanis, Indians

- Pakistanis, Algerians, Kurds, Nigerians, Afghans, Albanians, Ghanaians, Swahilis, Arabs, Bangladeshis, Indians, Somalis, Iraqis"

- Somalis, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Algerians, Moroccans, Afghans, Indians, Pakistanis, Lebanese, Bangladeshis

- Pakistanis, Somalis, Indians, Afghans, Nigerians,Saudis

- Pakistanis, Somalis, Swahilis, Algerians, Bangladeshis, Indians"

- Pakistanis, Somalis, Indians, Afghans, Iraqis

- Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalis, Bangladeshis

- Somalis, Pakistanis, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Indians

- Turkish and Turkish Cypriots, Somalis, Kurds, Albanians, Nigerians, Bangladeshis

- Indians, Turks, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Ghanaians

- Jamaicans, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalis, Algerians, Moroccans, Bangladeshis, Indians, Pakistanis, Iraqis, Afghans

- Pakistanis, Indians, Somalis, Nigerians, Ghanaians, Iraqis

- Bangladeshis, Iraqis

- Nigerians, Ghanaians, Bangladeshis

- Pakistanis, Somalis, Indians

- Indians; Turks, Ghanaians, Iraqis

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. ^ Your councillors
  4. ^ The Guardian. "A guide to ethnic communities". London. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  5. ^ BBC Voices Multilingual Nation. "Turkish today by Viv Edwards". Retrieved 2008-10-29. 

External links[edit]