British Muslim population could double in 20 years

The number of Muslims in Britain could almost double to 5.5 million within 20 years, according to new research.

A worldwide study by a Washington think-tank has suggested that the growth will mainly be driven by immigration.

Researchers from the Pew Research Center have made projections that the world’s Muslim population could increase by about 35 per cent over the next two decades.


Commenting on Britain, the report noted that today the number of Muslims make up 4.6 per cent of the population.

But Pew researchers predict an increase to more than eight per cent by 2030.

Speaking about the Muslim share of the population, the report said: “The greatest increases – driven primarily by continued migration – are likely to occur in Western and Northern Europe, where Muslims will be approaching double-digit percentages of the population in several countries”.


The Pew report also cited high birth rates. It said that “generally, Muslim populations tend to have higher fertility rates (more children per woman) than non-Muslim populations”.

Last year a survey revealed that most Britons are concerned about the growing influence of Islam in the UK and believe that Islam is dividing the nation.

The annual British Social Attitudes survey found that 52 per cent of the population believe that Britain is deeply divided along religious lines, with just one in four people feeling positive about Islam.


The survey also revealed that 55 per cent of the population would be strongly opposed if a large mosque was built in their area.

The results suggest that unhappiness over the influence of Islam is now a matter of national concern.

Professor David Voas, head of population studies at Manchester University, who analysed the findings, warned that the growing concern about Islam is because of “the degree to which Islam is perceived as a threat to social cohesion”.


Mr Voas said: “Muslims deserve to be the focus of policy on social cohesion, because no other group elicits so much disquiet.”

He added: “Opinion is divided and many people remain tolerant of unpopular speech as well as distinctive dress and religious behaviour, but a large segment of the British population is unhappy about these subcultures.”

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