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Tuesday, Sep 02 , 2014 ( Thul-Qedah, 1435)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

Islam Fastest-Growing Religion in Britain

OnIslam & Newspapers
Islam Fastest Growing Religion in UK
The census found that the proportion of Muslims also rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 per cent, becoming the fastest growing religion in Britain
Britain, Islam, religion, Christians, atheists

CAIRO – A new census found Tuesday, December 11, that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in Britain and Wales.

“Religion is difficult to define and difficult to measure,” Nick Spencer, research director at theology think-tank Theos, told The Daily Mail.

“The census measures religious identification, not beliefs or practice. It's about what people call themselves, and which group they wish to identify with.”

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Among British people, there were 33.2million claiming to be Christian, down from 37.3million in 2001. The figure made up just 59 per cent of the population.

The census put the total population of England and Wales at 56.1million, a seven percent increase from 2001; and 55 percent of the increase is due to migration.

It found that the proportion of Muslims also rose from 3.0 percent to 4.8 per cent, becoming the fastest growing religion in Britain.

The 2001 census put the number of British Muslims at nearly 2.5 million.

The statistics emerged as the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that English cathedral congregations had grown dramatically in recent years, debunking the 'cliché' that the Church of England is fading away.

The proportion of Muslims also rose from 3.0 per cent to 4.8 per cent, becoming the fastest growing faith in UK.

The 2001 census put the number of British Muslims at nearly 2.5 million.

The third most popular religion in Britain was Hinduism, making up 1.5 percent of the population, while 0.8 percent were Sikhs and 0.5 percent Jewish.

Nearly 180,000 claimed to be followers of the Jedi religion featured in Star Wars - down from 2001, when around 400,000 jokingly put the faith down on their census form.

“These figures show that we have a plural religious landscape, but that doesn't mean we're atheists,” Spencer said.

“Digging deeper, we see that even those who say they have no religion often have a variety of spiritual beliefs, but they don't want to associate these to religious institutions.”

Atheism

The census also found that the number of atheists was on the rise in Britain.

It found that 25.1 percent of people identify themselves as non-believers up from 14.8 per cent a decade earlier.

The numbers of non-believers have been on the rise across Europe and the United States.

A 2005 survey published in Encyclopedia Britannica put non-believers at about 11.9 percent of the world's population.

An official European Union survey recently said that 18 percent of the bloc's population do not believe in God.

The Washington Post reported in September that atheist movements were growing across Europe, lobbying hard for political clout and airtime.

The new census also found that the number of Christians was on decline in Britain.

“In spite of a biased question that positively encourages religious responses, to see such an increase in the non-religious and such a decrease in those reporting themselves as Christian is astounding,” Andrew Copson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association, said.

He said the decline in the number of Christians was 'really significant'.

“Of course these figures still exaggerate the number of Christians overall,” he noted.

“The number of believing, practicing Christians is much lower than this and the number of those leading their lives with no reference to religion much higher.”

There are more than 47,000 churches in Britain, and 42 million Britons, more than 70 percent of the population, consider themselves to be Christian.

In a study released in 2005, the British-based association Christian Research expected the number of Christians attending Sunday service to fall by two thirds over the next three decades.

The study, The Future of The Church, predicted that the total membership of all the Christian denominations to fall from 9.4 percent of the population to only five percent by 2040.

The study also expected that the poor attendance will force some 18,000 churches to close.
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