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Guides: Islam

Last Updated: Friday January 21 2005 20:00 GMT

Muslims in Britain

The boxer Prince Naseem Hamed
More than 1.6 million Muslims live in Britain.

The first Muslims to settle in the UK were the Yeminis in 1641. Britain's first Mosque opened in Cardiff, in 1860.

Between 1940-1960 many Muslims moved to Britain from places such as East Africa and South Asia. This period has been described as a "golden era" of Muslim migration.

Many British people were leaving to live abroad. This, and the British deaths during the Second World War, caused a labour shortage in Britain.

This means that there weren't enough people to perform jobs, so the government encouraged new people to move into Britain.

Other Muslims came to Britain because they could get jobs and send their money back to their family. When their pounds were exchanged to local currency, it would work out as much more money.

Some immigrants planned only to stay for a while, but ended up staying permanently.

In 1947, British rule ended in India. At this time, sections of India were divided up, creating Pakistan. There was on-going fighting after this partition and some people came to Britain.

Some other Muslims had to leave their country of origin to escape political persecution.

For example, in 1972 a leader in Uganda called Idi Amin ordered all Asians (without citizenship in Uganda) to leave the country. This meant that 60,000 Muslims were forced to find a new country to live in.

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