Fact-checking claims about Islam’s influence in the United Kingdom

Share

Summary

AN X user, @Row_Haastrup, has made multiple claims regarding Islam’s influence in the United Kingdom.

In the social media post, the X user claimed that there are nine mayors in the UK who are Muslims by religion with over 3,000 mosques, more than 130 Sharia courts and over 50 Sharia Councils in England, thus showing significant propagation of the Islamic faith in the UK.

OUR VERDICTS:

1. The claim that the mayors of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield, Oxford, Luton, Oldham, and Rochdale are Muslims is MOSTLY FALSE; findings show that only the mayor of London is a Muslim and seven other areas apart from Sheffield do not have elected mayors.

2. The claim that there are 4 million Muslims out of 66 million people in England is FALSE; available data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that the total population of England is 56.5 million, with 3.9 million indicating their religion to be Islam.

3. The claim that there are over 3,000 mosques in England, over 130 Sharia courts, and more than 50 Sharia councils is FALSE; available data show that the numbers are not correct.

4. The claim that every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam is FALSE; only RE (Religious Education) is compulsory and not Islamic studies.

AN X user, @Row_Haastrup, has made multiple claims regarding Islam’s influence in the United Kingdom.

In the social media post, the X user claimed that there are nine mayors in the UK who are Muslims by religion with over 3,000 mosques, more than 130 Sharia courts and over 50 Sharia Councils in England, thus showing significant propagation of the Islamic faith in the UK.

The post read:

“The Mayor of London is a Muslim. 

The Mayor of Birmingham is a Muslim. 

The Mayor of Leeds is Muslim. 

The Mayor of Blackburn – Muslim.

The Mayor of Sheffield is a Muslim. 

The Mayor of Oxford is a Muslim. 

The mayor of Luton is a Muslim.

The Mayor of Oldham is Muslim.

The Mayor of Rochdale is Muslim 

All of this was achieved by only 4 million Muslims out of 66 million people in England, which is just 6% of the total population

Today there are over 3,000 mosques in England.  There are over 130 sharia courts.  

There are more than 50 Sharia Councils. 

78% of Muslim women do not work, and receive state support + free accommodation.  63% of Muslims do not work, and receive state support + free housing. 

State-supported Muslim families with an average of 6 to 8 children receive free accommodation. 

Now every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam. 

I guess the UK will be Islamized before Nigeria is. LOL”

The claim has garnered over 1 million views, with about 5,000 likes, more than 1,800 reposts and almost 1,000 comments as of May 20, 2024.

The FactCheckHub examined the veracity of some of these claims as shown below:

 

CLAIM 1

The mayors of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield, Oxford, Luton, Oldham, and Rochdale are Muslims.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that this claim is MOSTLY FALSE.

Screenshot of the claim as retrieved from the X post. INSERT: Misleading verdict.
Screenshot of the claim as retrieved from the X post. INSERT: False verdict.

There are two types of mayors in England and Wales – elected (Mayor) and civic (Lord Mayor). 

A directly elected mayor and a cabinet are one of three different ‘political management arrangements’ available to local authorities: the others are a leader and cabinet, and the traditional ‘committee system’, where decisions are made by policy committees and approved by the full council. 

Lord Mayor carries out a ceremonial role and he is normally the chair of the local authority, not its leader or part of its executive. The legislation described in this briefing does not affect this type of office. A small number of mayoral authorities, such as Tower Hamlets and Lewisham, have renamed their chair the ‘Speaker’ to distinguish the roles more clearly. Parish and town councils may also choose to style the chair of the authority as ‘town mayor’. This too is a ceremonial role and does not have executive leadership responsibilities.

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that there are just 24 elected mayors (local authority and metro) in England (See APPENDIX 1 & 2).

Only London and South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (which includes Sheffield) have elected mayors. Thus, the other alleged mayoral positions in Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Oxford, Luton, Oldham, Rochdale do not exist.

Findings show that while the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan is a Muslim, Oliver James Coppard, a Jew, is the mayor of the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority of which Sheffield is a part.

This also contradicts the claim that these mayors were voted by only 4 million Muslims out of 66 million people in England, as there is no way they could have been voted into a position that does not exist.

THE VERDICT

The claim that the mayors of London, Birmingham, Leeds, Blackburn, Sheffield, Oxford, Luton, Oldham, and Rochdale are Muslims is MOSTLY FALSE; findings show that only the mayor of London is a Muslim and seven other areas apart from Sheffield do not have elected mayors.

 

CLAIM 2

There are 4 million Muslims out of 66 million people in England.

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub revealed that the claim is FALSE.

false claim of muslim mayors in england
A part of the claim as retrieved from the X post. INSERT: False verdict.

Checks by The FactCheckHub on the website of the UK’s Office of the National Statistics (ONS) show that as of the last census that was held in England on March 21, 2021, the size of the resident population in England and Wales was 59,597,300 (56,489,800 in England and 3,107,500 in Wales) This is against the 66 million people alleged by the claimant.

Also, further checks on the ONS website showed that there are 3.9 million people who indicated their religion as Islam in the 2021 census and this amounts to Muslims making up the 6.5% out of a population of 59.6 million in England and Wales. 

It’s paramount to note that religion is an optional question on the England and Wales censuses; consequently, there is more uncertainty about the figures. Also note that these data are for England and Wales as against the post that specified England as the country under discussion.

THE VERDICT 

The claim that there are 4 million Muslims out of 66 million people in England is FALSE; available data from the UK’s Office of National Statistics show that the total population of England is 56.5 million, with 3.9 million indicating their religion to be Islam.

 

CLAIM 3

There are over 3,000 mosques in England,  over 130 Sharia courts, and more than 50 Sharia Councils.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

false claim of sharia courts and councils england
A part of the claim as retrieved from the X post. INSERT: False verdict.

There is no definitive data in the UK that shows the total number of mosques in the UK, as the “Office of the National Statistics” does not count how many mosques or other places of worship there are in the UK.

But checks by The FactCheckHub show that as of December 26, 2023, there were 2,148 UK masjids/mosques, prayer rooms, and shared places such as hired halls and chaplaincies landmarked and 1,149 other locations e.g. proposed or no longer used, according to MuslimsInBritain.org which maintains an unofficial directory of mosques in the UK and Ireland.

Also, in 2020, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) said, in written evidence to the Lords Public Services Committee on the subject of lessons from the coronavirus pandemic, that there are “about 1,200 mosques” in Britain. The MCB is a national umbrella body with over 500 mosques, educational, charitable associations and professional networks affiliated to it.

Sharia councils, also erroneously called Sharia courts in the UK, are usually a group of local religious scholars who advise on Islamic marriage and divorce, following Muslim religious rules. While Sharia is a source of guidance for many Muslims, Sharia councils have no legal jurisdiction in England and Wales. Thus, if any decisions or recommendations are made by a Sharia council/court that are inconsistent with domestic law (including equality policies such as the Equality Act 2010), domestic law will prevail, according to a 2018 Home Office review.

In the review on reports into Sharia law in the UK, the document stated that “Common misconceptions around sharia councils often perpetuate owing to the use of incorrect terms such as referring to them as ‘courts’ rather than councils or to their members as ‘judges’. These terms are used both in media articles but also on occasion by the sharia councils themselves. It is important to note that sharia councils are not courts and they should not refer to their members as judges…”

The same document estimated that there were between 30 and 85 of such Sharia councils in England and Wales, and none in Scotland.

THE VERDICT

The claim that there are over 3,000 mosques in England, over 130 Sharia courts, and more than 50 Sharia councils is FALSE; available data show that the numbers are not correct.

 

CLAIM 4

Every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam.

THE FINDINGS

Checks by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE.

false claim of islam being a compulsory subject in the UK
A part of the claim as retrieved from the X post. INSERT: False verdict.

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that “schools have to teach Religious Education (RE) but parents can withdraw their children for all or part of the lessons,” according to the UK government’s national curriculum on compulsory subjects.

Pupils can also choose to withdraw themselves once they’re 18. Local councils decide the RE syllabus, but faith schools and academies can set their own.

This shows that different forms of religious studies can be taught in UK schools using the RE syllabus, and not just Islam.

THE VERDICT

The claim that every school in the UK is required to teach lessons about Islam is FALSE; only RE (Religious Education) is compulsory and not Islamic studies.

FactCheckHub | Website | + posts

Amala is a tactical Fact-Checker, who is passionate about using Fact-checking to curb the spread of Misinformation and Disinformation which has become prevalent in the media space. She can be reached on X at muonweblessing and LinkedIn on Amala Blessing Muonwe

SOURCE: @Row_Haastrup via X.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Most Read

Recent Checks