Mohammed has become the most popular name for baby boys in England and Wales for the first time, official new figures have revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published a list of the most popular names for newborn babies for 2009.
The Islamic name Mohammed officially ranked as the 16th most popular boys name.
However, when the different spellings of the name were added together it proved to be the most popular name.
The name Mohammed, and its variations, was given to 7,549 babies making it more popular than more traditional names such as Oliver which was given to 7,364 newborns.
Murtaza Shibli, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “Parents choose it because of their love of the prophet Mohammed and they believe the name will bring happiness and abundance.
“Also, there’s a belief they will follow the good example of the prophet.”
During 2009 there were 3,300 boys named Mohammed, 2,162 Muhammads, 1,073 Mohammads, and 980 called either Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed or Mohammod.
Olivia proved to be the most popular girls name followed by Ruby, Chloe, Emily and Sophie.
In 2009 figures from the Pew Forum, a US think-tank, showed that European Union countries including Britain can expect to see a large increase in the Muslim population by the middle of the 21st century.
It was estimated that increasing levels of immigration from Muslim countries and low birth rates among Europeans could bring the EU’s Muslim population up to 20 per cent by 2050.
One newspaper commentator called the situation a “demographic time bomb”.
Earlier in the year a survey found that 97 per cent of imams in British mosques were from overseas, with 92 per cent educated abroad, largely in Pakistan or Bangladesh.
The survey was carried out by the Quilliam Foundation, a Muslim group which seeks to combat Islamic extremism.