CARDIFF – Muslims in the United Kingdom are actively practicing their faith and are passing on their religious teachings to their children at much higher rates than other religions, a new study has found.
“There is more involvement of Muslim young people in religious organizations,” says the study by the Cardiff University and cited by the BBC News Online on Tuesday, February 14.
“It is well known that there is considerable supplementary education for Muslim children such as the formal learning of the Qur'an in Arabic."
Studying the role of religion in the life of minority communities, the research, performed by Cardiff's School of Social Sciences and Center for the Study of Islam in the UK, found that Muslims are practicing their faith at higher rates than other religions.
It showed that 77% of adult Muslims in Britain actively practice the faith they were brought up in, compared with 29% of Christians and 65% of other religions.
It also found that 98% of Muslim children had the religion their parents were brought up in, compared to 62% of Christian children and 89% of other religions.
“The apparently much higher rates of intergenerational transmission in Muslims and members of other non-Christian non-Muslim religions are certainly worthy of further exploration and may in fact pose a challenge to blanket judgments about the decline of British religion,” the study said.
“These higher rates might suggest support for the theory that for minority ethnic populations, religion can be an important resource in bolstering a sense of cultural distinctiveness.”
The study analyzed data from the Home Office's 2003 Citizenship Survey, using 13,988 replies from adults and 1,278 from young people aged 11 to 15.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 2.5 million.
The study highlighted the growing role of religion in the life of minority communities, including British Muslims.
“Muslim children tend to lead busy lives, often attending religious education classes outside school three or more times each week on top of any other commitments they have,” Prof Jonathan Scourfield, one of the researchers who took part in the study, told the BBC.
“They typically learn to read the Qur'an in Arabic. They also learn a great deal about their faith from parents and other family members.
“Religion can have an especially important role for minority communities in keeping together the bonds between families from the same ethnic background.”
The study followed a recent research by Ipsos Mori that suggested Britons who declare themselves Christian display low levels of belief and practice.
Almost three quarters of the 1,136 people polled agreed that religion should not influence public policy, and 92% agreed the law should apply to everyone equally, regardless of their personal beliefs.
The survey was conducted for the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (UK), which describes itself as promoting “scientific education, rationalism and humanism”.