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Muslims in Britain

Different waves of migration

Muslim migration to Britain began from the mid-19th century. The increased trade between Britain and its colonies brought a contingent force of labourers to work on the ships and in the ports. Between 1890-1903, nearly 40,000 seaman arrived on British shores; gradually some of them began to settle for longer periods. After World War I, there was a mass migration to Britain of Pakistanis (including Bangladeshis). The rapid increase in demand for unskilled labour in British industries also occasioned large scale migration.
The second wave of migration came from East African countries. A large number of Asians had British passports and so decided to come to Britain. By the early 1960s many Muslim countries were sending their students for higher education in Britain (Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries). Gradually, a number of students decided to stay and came to play a leading role within the community. Finally, in recent years, there has been a substantial inflow of Muslim refugees from the other parts of the world, including the Middle East, Near East and Eastern Europe (e.g. Kosovo).

A diverse community

There are Muslims from all corners of the world in Britain, including Africa. The Muslim community in Britain is extremely diverse, culturally, socially, or linguistically. Nevertheless, the different groups co-operated in establishing mosques and schools, co-operation based more on denominational lines than geographical or linguistic grounds.

The website Muslims in Britain provides interesting information on Muslims, mosques, and Islam in Britain.
See also: Muslim Council of Britain, ‘Our Shared British Future Muslims and Integration in the UK’, 2018.

D 1 May 2017    AAtaullah Siddiqui

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