One in ten children under the age of four is now Muslim in England and Wales, the latest statistics show.
In the under-fives age group there are nearly twice as many people identified as Muslim as in the general population, census data reveals.
The figures suggest a change in the UK’s younger generation of worshippers as less than 0.5 per cent of over 85s in Britain identify as Muslim.
One expert said the number of practising Muslims could soon outnumber the number of Christians who actively worship in the UK. David Voas, Professor of Population Studies at the University of Essex, told The Times: ‘It’s not inconceivable.’
An Office for National Statistics breakdown of Britain’s religions and age groups shows in 2011 there were 3.5 million children aged 0-4, of whom 320,000 were Muslim.
‘It certainly is a startling figure,’ said David Coleman, Professor of Demography at the University of Oxford. ‘We have had substantial immigration of Muslims for a long time.
‘Continuing immigration from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India has been added to by new immigration from African countries and from the Middle East. Birth rates of Muslims of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin remain quite high, although falling. There seem to be very low levels of falling away from religion among Muslims.’
The largest religious group, at 1.5 million, among those aged 0-4 is still comprised of Christians, 43 per cent.
Dale Barton, priest in charge at St Clement’s, a Church of England parish in Bradford, said: ‘This was a white working-class British area 50 years ago. They have all gone. There are two pubs hanging on by their fingertips. There’s a Labour club. One club has just gone. Shops are now Muslim-owned. I’m not decrying that. A significant number open on Christmas Day.’.. see more
source: dailymail UK