Antall briter som konverterer til islam har gjort et stort hopp. Tallet anslås til 100.000. Rundt 5.200 konverterer årlig. Totredeler er kvinner.

Unprecedented numbers of Britons have converted to Islam over the past decade, according to a study.

Ten years ago, it was estimated that more than 60,000 Britons were converts. The report published yesterday puts the current figure at about 100,000, with an estimated 5,200 converts turning to Islam each year.

According to the report compiled by researchers at Swansea University for Faith Matters – a Muslim group dedicated to interfaith dialogue -more than half the converts were white, indigenous Britons. Two-thirds of them were women. The average age was just under 28.

Nevertheless, the figures are comparable with studies in Germany and France that have found that about 4,000 people a year in each of those nations convert to Islam.

Fiyaz Mughal, the director of Faith Matters, said coming up with a reliable estimate of the number of converts was at best an «intellectual guesstimate» based on census numbers. But he added: «Few people doubt that the number adopting Islam in the UK has risen dramatically in the past 10 years.

«I think there is definitely a relationship between conversions being on the increase and the prominence of Islam in the public domain.

«People are interested in finding out what Islam is all about and when they do that they go in different directions. Most shrug their shoulders and return to their lives but some will inevitably end up liking what they discover and will convert.»

Muslimer er kraftig imot kristen misjonering, men har ingen skrupler med å misjonere aktivt selv.

Inayat Bunglawala, the founder of Muslims4UK, which promotes active Muslim engagement in British society, told The Independent newspaper that the figures were «not implausible».

«It would mean that around one in 600 Britons is a convert to the faith. Islam is a missionary religion and many Muslim organisations, and particularly university students’ Islamic societies, have active outreach programmes designed to remove popular misconceptions about the faith,» he said.

UK converts to Islam up by 40,000 in a decade, report says