UK Census Sunday 27th March, 2011
Every ten years there is a nation-wide census in the United Kingdom. The national census collects essential information on the British population. This information helps government and Local Authorities plan the services and resources people need such as health, education, housing, transport, social amenities and employment. Your participation counts to make a difference to everyone’s lives. That is why it is so important that everyone takes part. It is also compulsory by Law and you could face a fine for failing to participate.
What is your Religion?
The Census Form includes a large number of questions that must be completed by each household in the country. One of these is a voluntary question, ‘What is your religion?’
The last time the Census had included a question about religion was in 1851.This was on a separate response sheet whose completion was not compulsory. As a result of a persistent campaign, in the late 1990’s, by the Faith communities, the 2001 census was the first in Great Britain to include the Question on Religion on the main census form.
The religion question was voluntary, and 7.7% of people who were counted chose not answer it.The data of the 2001 census revealed that the percentages of religious affiliations were:
- No Religion:15%
- Christian: 72.0%
- Muslim: 3%
- Hindu: 1%
- Sikh: 0.6%
- Jewish: 0.5%
- Buddhist: 0.3%
- Any other religion: 0.3%
It can be seen that Islam is the most common religion after Christianity.
The 20th Question:
In the current Census taking place on Sunday 27th March, 2011, the Question number 20 on the Census form is on Religious Affiliation. Like in the last Census this question is voluntary.
The responses to this question will also enable the Authorities to be informed of the various religious affiliations.This will facilitate better planning of the services taking into account the needs by Faith including our needs as muslims. Therefore all Muminin are urged to stand up and be counted by responding to this voluntary Question 20.
It is worthwhile to note that, the British Humanist Association which, needless to say, has a significant vested interest in promoting atheism has been complaining about the optional religion question since the Census in 2001.
Identity: Faith not Ethnicity:
The 16th Question in the Census form reads: What is your ethnic group?
The question on Ethnic group was first included in the UK Census in 1991.
The Muslim Ummah identifies itself on the basis of faith rather than race or national origin. For British Muslims the focus on Ethnicity alone as a standard for planning and allocating resources in the public sector makes the British Muslims statistically invisible.Thus the absolute necessity to respond to question 20 on Religious Affiliation with the same importance as the other questions.
Let us participate: It is vital that we all respond to the Census 2011.
Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah
Fazle Abbas Datoo
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat