London, Mar.25 : The increasing influence of Islam on British culture shows that the number of Muslims worshipping at mosques in England and Wales will outstrip the numbers of Roman Catholics going to church in little more than a decade.
Projections to be published next month, show Muslims are to outstrip Catholic Sunday worshippers by 2020
According to the projections, if present trends continue, the number of Catholic worshippers at Sunday Mass will fall to 679,000 by 2020. By that time, statisticians predict, the number of Muslims praying in mosques on Fridays will have increased to 683,000.
According to The Telegraph, the projections show that, if churches do not reverse their historical decline, there will be more active Muslims than Christians in Sunday services across Britain before the middle of the century.
The figures, based on Government and academic sources and the latest edition of Christian Research's Religious Trends, come amid growing tensions over the place of Muslims in British society.
They follow fierce rows over the extent to which Islamic law should be recognised and over claims that "no-go" areas for non-Muslims are emerging in parts of the country.
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, provoked criticism by saying the introduction of some aspects of sharia into British society was "unavoidable".
The Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, faced death threats after writing in The Sunday Telegraph that Islamic extremism was turning some communities into "no-go" areas "where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability".
Peter Brierley, a former Government statistician who edited the latest Religious Trends, said that the continuing growth of the Muslim population since the 2001 census would have significant implications for society.