UK Mosque Statistics for 2015 
The MuslimsInBritain.org Mosques Statistics report for 2015 has just been published on my website, at www.MuslimsInBritain.org/resources/masjid_report.pdf.

I have not yet completed the updated political-boundary-related data analysis; this will follow next month, insha'Allah. Also, there are a few refinements that I intend to apply to the document as published, which will also follow shortly, insha'Allah.

Meanwhile, here are some highlights:

There are currently 1695 actual masjids in the UK, up from 1640 in October 2014.
The actual changes include 84 premises that are now defunct - some of those will be places that have been long defunct that I have caught up with and corrected, but about half are places that communities have moved from, so while the net increase is 55 new masjids, actually there are about 100 new masjids that have been reported to MuslimsInBritain.org in the last year of which about 40 are replacement premises.

About 460 masjids and organisations providing prayer space, are registered charities. (There are about 1100 organisations on the England and Wales Register of Charities that include the terms "Muslim" or "Islam" in their title or keywords.)

Deobandi-oriented masjids are still circa 43% of all UK masjids, with 25 more masjids thus associated in the last year.

Likewise Bareilvi-oriented masjids are still 24%, with 28 more.

Salafi-oriented masjids have increased from 7% to 8.6%, i.e. 155 masjids and 34 more than last year. Note the trend - there are significantly more new Salafi-oriented masjids than either of the old-guard 'mainstream', and this trend continues from the previous two years.

Most other identifiable orientations/flavours/denominations remain static. The number of non-denominational prayer rooms that I have recorded has shrunk considerably from 175 to 125 - this is down to more diligent checks on these often elusive locations.

This year I have introduced a few categories to cover those very few masjids who are able to justify their claims to be non-sectarian, and have recorded 5 "Inclusive, unaffiliated Sunni", 3 "Exclusive, unaffiliated Sunni" (who methodically ban all practices and events in their masjids except salaah), and 4 "Modernist" (who entertain interpretations of Islamic practice that are controversially distant from orthodox interpretations - these are all intolerant of alternatives to their own idiosyncratic practices).

Women's access to masjids is met by 70% of UK masjids, 100% for Shi'a, 95% for Salafi and 92% for "Arabic mainstream Sunni", (i.e. native Arab-speaking imams and managements who practice taqleed-oriented fiqh). However only 50% of Deobandi masjids, and 83% of Bareilvi ones, provide for women. This Deobandi figure is a drop from last year, but arises from my better understanding of the substantial Bangladeshi Deobandi influenced masjids. Very few Bangladeshi masjids of any persuasion have facilities for women, and this ethnic factor is one of the refinements I will be introducing to the report soon, insha'Allah.

My Muslim Council of Britain affiliates analysis shows that the MCB does entertain a diverse range of affiliates, but only 10% of Deobandi masjids have affiliated, though they are 40% of the MCB's masjid affiliates. 73% of 'Islamic Movement', Maudoodi-inspired masjids are affiliates, but are only 19% of the MCB's masjid affiliate composition. The MCB's claimed total of affiliates still includes 22 masjid organisations that are actually defunct,long-gone. The bottom line is that the MCB claims the affiliations of 197 or 12% of the UK's masjids.

On the other hand, while the British Muslim Forum is 99% Bareilvi, there has been no sign of activity from the BMF for many years. Recent claims in the press for an individual to be heading the "Muslim Forum", might be signs of a revival, but there has been no evidence of any actual entity by that name, or revival of the BMF either, that has crossed MuslimsInBritain.org's path. Were it functioning, the BMF would be claiming 231 affiliates, 14%; but apart from an open letter after the 7/7 bombing, there is next to no other evidence of the BMF's existence.

Meanwhile MINAB, which is very cagey about just who its affiliates are, has a non-functional website but claims 600 affiliates on Wikipedia. Based on data it published and then withdrew in 2011, I have identified just 93.

I have generated breakdowns of affiliates for some local groups, in particular Bradford and Tower Hamlets Councils of Mosques - the latter has one Bareilvi affiliate out of 54, the only one in Tower Hamlets, but 5 of the 7 Sufi Fultoli-influenced masjids there, demonstrating the significance of that body which is little known outside of Bangladeshi communities.

One significant change I have introduced is to rationalise my data on masjid managements' cultural/ethnic orientation. I only have this for about half the UK's masjids, but I have standardised it and associated it with regions as well. I would be the first to accept that it is contraversial - as generations pass, more of the people in charge of masjids are people who have been born in and identify primarily with the UK culturally. However I strongly contend that along with factional sectarian exclusiveness, cultural exclusiveness makes the masjid a very alienating place for neophytes, for users from other cultures, and especially for converts. I believe that such alienation is the principle reason for on the one hand, converts and neophytes turning to alternative narratives, including extreme ones, rejecting 'orthodoxy', and on the other hand, masjid managements claiming with total sincerity that they are totally opposed to extremism and violence, honestly denying they have any sign of it in their masjid, yet are completely flummoxed when families and children from their own neighbourhood community turn up in court on terrorism charges, or in Syria or Afghanistan.

Anyway, the masjid management ethnic association statistics show:

86.2% of UK masjids are exclusively managed by committees entirely culturally from the Indian subcontinent. I expect this figure to be bigger still when I identify more such data - it is only the more diverse managements that have more accessible inmformation that makes a point of their cultural diversity.
2.1% of UK masjids have committees or trustees made up from people from more than one continent.
Just a mere 6 masjids, 0.3%, have any converts/reverts at all, even just one, involved in running the masjid. After more than three generations in the UK, innumerable conversions/shahadahs, and abundant capable and articulate people to draw upon, that figure must be a national scandal for Muslims who consider the UK to be their future.

4 masjids have specific Saudi influence in their management, and 20, 1.9%, have Arabian peninsula or Levantine interests, including just one UK masjid with a single Syrian person involved. That last is a very significant consideration for the burgeoning refugee crisis as Asia Minor collapses. Likewise, there are 4 masjids with Kurdish influence.

Finally, about 800 masjids of the 1047 thus analysed, have committees and trustees that are exclusively Pakistani, or exclusively Bangladeshi, or exclusively Gujerati. The remaining 600-700 un-analysed, are most likely to be added to that last total.

Britain's 32 biggest masjids are listed - no special surprise and no change on previous years except removal of an erroneously overstated entry.

I have generated a breakdown of masjid sizes that corresponds approximately to house conversions, commercial conversions and new-builds, and 1000+ institutions, with last year's data to compare. There have been no changes at the big end, almost all new locations are around the 50 to 200 people sizes. This could either be because there is little demand for creating major masjids, or that major masjid projects have been regularly blocked. However, from a planning perspective, the organic growth of masjid projects from small to medium to large, has significant ramifications in residential areas where they start as house or small shop conversions.

Lastly I continue to publish the numbers of unique visitors to the website, and this continues to grow steadily. The directory underwent some major changes earlier this year to make it suitable for mobile devices, and traffic has grown to around 150,000 unique visitors per month. This large number, along with the statistic that states that I now claim and report first-hand knowledge of 887 out of 1834 places of Muslim worship (and 652 others with multiple corroboratory sources), and a library of several thousand photographs covering about 600 masjids, I hope emphasises the quality and credibility of the data I have sourced personally, and from a band of helpful supporters, and from the amorphous 'crowd' who submit a steady flow of arbitrary updates and corrections. Many thanks to any of you that have assisted with this project, and may you receive the benefit that accrues through helping others establish and run the masjids, and especially helping those who need to find a place to perform their ritual salaah, the ability to do so with safety and confidence.

The directory is of course on the website, at

http://mosques.muslimsinbritain.org

Mehmood Naqshbandi
23rd September 2015


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