MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN BRITAIN
Islam is the second largest religion in Britain consisting of 2.4 million Muslims. In 1951 Muslim population in Britain was about 23,000. Ten years later, it was about 82,000 and by 1971 it was 369,000. Different ethnic groups of Muslims are settled in Britain from different countries like Pakistanis, Bangladeshi, Indians, Somalis, Turks, Nigerian and Maghrebis. The largest group of Muslim community in Britain is Pakistani. The settlements with large number of Muslims are Bradford, Luton, Blackburn, Birmingham, London and Dewsbury. They are also living in High Wycombe, Slough, Leicester, Derby, Manchester, Liverpool and the mill towns of Northern England. There are also relatively large concentrations in the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Different Aspects of life
British Muslims are passing through an important phase of their settlement; they have been here for over 60 years. This is not a long time in history for any community. However, they have made important developments and progress in making Britain their home; they have established businesses from grocery shops to high-tech companies. There are Muslim professionals in medicine to engineering, a large majority work as unskilled or semi-skilled workers running the British transport system driving taxis. They have formed their religious places of worship and organizations, charities and schools and are contributing and participating actively to the British economy and civil society.
Contribution of Muslims in British economy
British Muslims contribute more than £31 billion to the UK economy. According to the MCB report, there are 114,548 Muslims in “higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations” According to a survey, there are about 2.78 million Muslims in Britain, contributing over 31 billion pounds to the economy. There is an estimated 10,000 Muslim millionaires. They play important role in Britain’s economy, as they bring valuable foreign exchange; when they export their goods, which increase Britain’s GDP. More than a dozen British Muslims listed in the 2013 Sunday Times Rich List of the most affluent in the UK.
Contribution of British Muslims in different fields of life
Muslims are also contributing in different fields of life in Britain like medicine, Engineering, law, sports and many others. 53% of British Muslim youth opt to attend university. There are around 140 Muslim faith schools in the UK, twelve of them being state-funded. Muslims are playing an increasingly prominent role in political life. There are currently eight Muslim MPs and twelve Muslim Peers ,having high profile Conservative Muslims, including Minister for Faith and Communities and former Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party Sayeeda Warsi and Economic Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid. British Muslims are well represented in various media positions across different organizations. There are several Islamic television channels operating in the UK, including Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA International), Ummah Channel, and Ahlebait TV.
Challenges faced by Muslims in Britain
Muslims everywhere are generally being beleaguered especially in the West. Muslims have been unfairly labeled as terrorists by the West & Islam has been tagged as a religion of terrorism especially after 9/11. But actually Islam is a religion of peace & freedom. Muslims are facing many different challenges especially the challenge of Islamophobia, dread of Muslims and dislike of their presence here. Unfortunately, since 9/11 and 7/7 the tensions between Muslims and the locals has grown to a dangerous point. Western media portrait negative image of Muslims such as Muslims as a threat to UK security, Muslims are a threat to British mainstream values. British Muslims adopted United Kingdom as their home and they are proud of this country as it represents some of the best human values like democracy, human rights and equality and justice. From corner shops to Tandoori restaurants, from law and accountancy to information technology, from the National Health Service and education to transport and public services, from politics and media to the arts, fashion and sports- the Muslim presence is strong, promising and it’s growing and Muslims are playing a very dynamics role.