17 December 2009

Study into UK immigration reveals faith of migrants

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A comprehensive study of faiths and migration in the UK has revealed a “faith map” of new arrivals and the potential enrichment and challenges to UK society.

The study found that Britain is home to 1.1 million Muslim immigrants as well as a large number of Christians and that the arrival of large numbers of religiously-observant immigrants could challenge the trend of secularisation in the UK.

The UK immigration report, by the respected IPPR, has concluded that thousands of Muslims have moved to the UK because it is more sympathetic towards Islam than other European countries and Christians also have emigrated to the country searching for work and safety from persecution.

"Migration has caused an increase in the proportions of the population affiliated to non-Christian faiths," says the report, called Faith, Migration and Integration in the UK.

The report found that 4.5 million of the UK's foreign-born residents and UK Visa holders, claim to have a religious affiliation: around a quarter are Muslims; and more than half are Christian, with Polish Catholics and African Pentecostals one of the fastest-growing groups.

"Perhaps the most significant change has been the growth of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity within migrant populations, particularly those from Africa and Latin America," the report says.

For example, in Lewisham there are 65 Pentecostal churches serving the Nigerian community and others serving the Congolese, Ghanaian and Ivorian communities.

“Recent migration trends are altering the faith map of the UK. Their biggest impact is being felt in some of our largest cities, London above all, where a rich mosaic of different faith communities has come into being,” the report says.


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