Study: Muslims to Outnumber Catholics in Britian within 10 Years
ASSIST News Service
LONDON (ANS) -- The increasing influence of Islam on British culture is disclosed in upcoming research.
Jonathan Petre in a story published in Britain's Telegraph newspaper reported that the study shows the number of Muslims worshiping at mosques in England and Wales will overtake the numbers of Roman Catholics going to church in just over a decade.
The Telegraph reported that the projections, to be published next month, estimate that if those trends continue, the number of Catholics attending Sunday Mass will fall to 679,000 by 2020.
By that time, statisticians predict, the number of Muslims praying in mosques on Fridays will have increased to 683,000.
Church spokesmen noted, the Telegraph reported, that an increasing number of Anglicans worship at other times of the week.
The Telegraph said that the figures, based on British government and academic sources and the latest edition of Christian Research's Religious Trends, come amid growing tensions over the place of Muslims in British society.
They follow heated debate over the extent to which Islamic law should be recognized, and claims that “no-go” areas for non-Muslims are emerging in parts of the country.
The Telegraph reported that Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, provoked criticism by saying the introduction of some aspects of sharia (Islamic law) into British society was “unavoidable.”
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, faced death threats after writing in The Sunday Telegraph that Islamic extremism was turning some communities into “no-go” areas, “where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability.”
Peter Brierley, a former Government statistician who edited the latest Religious Trends, said that the continuing growth of the Muslim population since the 2001 census would have significant implications for society.
A story by Cyril Dixon in Britain’s Daily Express newspaper said that the report’s findings are bound to cause additional concerns about the spread of Islam.
The Daily Express recently revealed controversial plans to let Islamic imams (ministers) teach the Koran nationwide in state schools across Britain.
The Express reported that the man who compiled the latest figures, Peter Brierley, a former government statistician, said the trends were bound to have “massive implications” for society.
Nicola Bourque, professor of religious studies at Glasgow University, told the Express, “Attendance at Catholic churches is declining. Many people are Catholic but don’t go to church.
These days, mosques act as a community center in a way that churches don’t.”
The National Union of Teachers – Britain’s biggest teaching union – is behind calls to teach the Koran.
The Express reported that Steve Sinnott, the general secretary, said it would “reunite” divided communities, and also demanded that Christian schools admit pupils from other faiths.