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Is Islam the second-largest religion in the United Kingdom?

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ON DECEMBER 25, during the Christmas festivities, Nigerians on social media, particularly on Twitter, argued about the population of Muslims in the United Kingdom (UK).

In response to a particular post stating that children of Nigerian migrants in the UK are mostly going to end up in schools or churches, where they would be participating in Christmas activities, irrespective of their religious affiliations, A Twitter user claimed that Islam is the second-largest religion in the UK.

The Twitter user Ayo with the user ID, @AladejanaDeji, tweeted that about 4.4 per cent of the total population of UK residents were Muslims as of 2011.

He added that over 3.3 million people were estimated to be Muslim in Great Britain as of 2018.

“In 2011, 2,516,000 individuals, about 4.4% of the total population of UK residents were Muslims. In 2018, the Office of National Statistics estimated that there are about 3,372,966 Muslims in Great Britain alone. Islam is currently the second-largest religion in the UK,” his tweet read.

A screenshot of the tweets.

From the tweet, the following claims were established:

A screenshot of the tweets.
A screenshot of the tweets.

CLAIM 1:

‘2,516,000 people making up of 4.4 per cent of UK residents were Muslim as of 2011’

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is half true.

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Data from the United Nation data bank show that there were  63.2 million (63,182,178) people in the UK as of 2011.

Out of the total population, almost 2.8 million (2,786,635) are identified as Muslims.

The 2,786,635 equate to 4.4 per cent of the total population.

The United Nations stated that the data was extracted from the population census conducted in the country in 2011

THE VERDICT: The claim is HALF TRUE. While 4.4 per cent of the total UK population were Muslims as of 2011, the total population of Muslims then were 2,786,635 and not 2,516,000.

CLAIM 2:

‘3,372,966 million people were estimated to be Muslim in Great Britain as of 2018.’

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is true.

A report by the UK’s Office for National Statistics stated that there were almost 3.4 million (3,372,966) Muslims in Great Britain as of 2018.

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THE VERDICT: The claim is TRUE.

CLAIM 3:

‘Islam is the second-largest religion in the UK’

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is true.

Data from the United Nations show that the second-largest religious group in the UK is Islam, with  4.8 per cent of the population equating to almost 2.8 million (2,786,635) people identifying as Muslims.

Christianity is the largest religious group with  37.5 million (37,583,962) people.

However, 16 million (16,221,509) people said they had no religion, while another 4.4 million (4,528,323) did not specify.

The data was based on information from the census conducted in the UK in 2011.

Census in the UK is done every ten years.

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The most recent was in March 2021; due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  the census in Scotland was shifted to be conducted in 2022. As such, the data is not yet available.

THE VERDICT: The claim is TRUE.

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