'Practising Muslims to outnumber Christians in UK by 2035'

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London, May 8 (UNI) Painting a picture of emerging religious trends in Britain, research says practising Muslims will outnumber worshipping Christians in the country within the next 30 years.

According to calculations by think tank Christian Research, there will be about 1.96 million active Muslims in Britain, compared with 1.63 million church-going Christians by 2035.

The think-tank also warned that 4,000 churches could close by 2020 if congregations continued to shrink at current rates, the Daily Telegraph reported.

According to the most recent figures from the Church of England, regular Sunday, weekly and monthly attendance each fell by one per cent in 2006.

Although at the last count there were only 1.6 million Muslims living in Britain, compared to 41 million Christians, experts suggested Muslims were more likely to practise their faith.

More than half of the Muslims who responded to the 2001 census said they prayed every day, compared to 6.3 per cent of Christians who attended church services each week.

However, the Church of England discredited the research, criticising its methodology and saying, ''the results were flawed and dangerously misleading.'' Its spokesman said, ''These sorts of statistics, based on dubious presumptions, do no one of any faith any favours. Faith communities are not in competition and simplistic research like this is misleading and unhelpful.'' ''The number of practising Muslims is based on the number of people who said they were active in the 2001 census and if the same process were applied to Christians it would give a figure of 20 million active churchgoers,'' according to Church House, the headquarters of the Church.

The study omitted large numbers of Christians who worshipped every week and were involved in their churches in other ways, according to Church House.

UNI XC SKB HT1928

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