THE population of Muslims in Britain could almost double to 5.5 million within 20 years, according to new research.
According to a worldwide study by a Washington think-tank the growth will mainly be driven by immigration.
Pew Research Center researchers have made projections that the world’s Muslim population could increase by about 35 per cent over the next two decades.
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The report noted that today the number of Muslims make up 4.6 per cent of the population in the UK. However, 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”.
A survey conducted last year 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.
From the archives: Islam watch