No sectarian violence please, we’re Londoners!


There are now just over 1,000,000 Muslims living in London according to the lastest results from the Census in 2011 

The total number of London residents who reported their religion was Muslim increased by 67 per cent between censuses from 607,100 in 2001 to 1,012,800 in 2011.  This was actually less sharp than the increase for England and Wales as a whole which increased by 75 per cent. Muslims made up 1 in 12 of London’s residents in 2001 and 1 in 8 in 2011, but the proportion of England and Wales’ Muslims who lived in London fell from 39 per cent in 2001 to 37 per cent in 2011.

Tower Hamlets had the highest number of Muslims in 2001: 71,400 (36.4 per cent of residents in the borough) followed by Newham 59,300 (24.3 per cent). In 2011 Newham had the most 98,500 (32.0 per cent of residents in the borough) while Tower Hamlets had 87,700 (34.5 per cent). Tower Hamlets was the only London Borough where Muslims made up a smaller proportion of total population in 2011 than in 2001. 

 In six boroughs the number of Muslims increased by over 20,000 over the ten years: Newham (up 39,200), Redbridge (36,500), Enfield (25,800), Brent (25,700), Waltham Forest (23,600) and Ealing (22,200). The biggest increases in Muslim percentage share of population were in Redbridge, up 11.4 percentage points from 11.9 to 23.3 per cent; Barking and Dagenham (up 9.4 points from 4.4 to 13.7 per cent); Newham  (up 7.7 points from 24.3 to 32.0 per cent) and Enfield (up 7.1 points from 9.6 to 16.7 per cent).  

We now have Census a breakdown of religion by age. Muslims are on average younger than other groups. Thirty per cent of Muslims resident in London in 2011 were aged 14 or younger compared to 19 per cent for all groups. Conversely only 4.5 per cent of Muslims were aged 65 and over compared to 11.1 per cent for all groups. These proportions were broadly similar to 2001.

All this, while we are unfortunately seeing some signs of sectarian trouble between Sunni and Shias in London. Surprise surprise, who do you think is in the thick of it? I have been told it’s none other than Anjum Choudhury and his mob with two recent incidents along the Edgware Rd. I really do hope this is not a reflection of some of the sectarian wars  now unleased in the Middle East in countries like Syria.  

I have always said we have not one Muslim community but many Muslim communities in London and we should celebrate the diversity within Islam. You will not find this anywhere else in the world and it is illustrated well with the Edgware Rd where we have Sunni Arabs at the Marble Arch end and by the time you get to Kilburn you have Shia Iranians. With other groupings like the Ahmadi’s, Ismails etc with bases here in London as well.  

Let’s be grateful you’re not asked whether you are Sunni or Shia under Muslim in the Census forms! So let’s say no too sectarian violence, as we are all Londoners!


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