Welcoming the Census 2011 results, the Muslim Council of Britain commented that the growth in number points to the fact that Muslims
play a significant part in the increasing diversity of Britain. The population of Muslims in England and Wales is now 2.71 million, of a total of 56.1 million - around 4.8% of the population. The Muslim presence across the length and breadth of the land, from inner London (almost half a million) to the Isles of Scilly (around half a dozen) is a matter of fact.
Comparison with the 2001 Census indicates that the populations of all minority faith communities have increased - for example the Hindu and Buddhist communities rose by 48% and 70% respectively. This is a reflection not just of demographic profile - the BME communities' lower age profile means they have young families - but also ONS's greater success in disseminating the Census message within hard-to-reach communities.
In the last decade there have been significant increases in the Muslim populations in Manchester (over 100,000), Birmingham (plus 96,000), Bradford (plus 55,000) and most of the inner London boroughs, notably Newham (plus 64,000), Tower Hamlets (plus 58,000) and Haringey (plus 52,000). Tower Hamlets remains the local authority district with the greatest proportion of Muslims - 34.5%; in 2001 this percentage was 36.4, possibly an indication of outwards migration.
The MCB's Secretary General, Farooq Murad noted, In a time of brutal and drastic public sector cuts, policy makers will now be in a position to target scarce public resources more effectively to the most needy districts and wards - this applies particularly to the provision of childcare facilities to help working mothers and youth services.
The ONS is to be congratulated for the helpful manner in which it has presented the latest tranche of census output on 11th December. The voluntary religion question was answered by 92.8% of the population, validating the MCB's campaign when first lobbying for its inclusion that Britain is not shy about faith.