The Friday Message - Issue No: 371 - UK Census

The Friday Message - Issue No: 371 - UK Census

Salamun Alaykum, 

UK Census Sunday 21st March, 2021

Every ten years there is a nation-wide census in the United Kingdom. The census day in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is on Sunday 21st March, 2021 while the 2021 census in Scotland was moved to 2022 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Census 2021 is a digital-first census with households receiving a letter with a unique access code, allowing them to complete the questionnaire on their computers, phones or tablets. People are being encouraged to respond online if they can. Paper questionnaires will also be available for those who need them. 

Important to take part:  

The national census collects essential information on the British population. The answers people give to census questions help build up a picture of the population. Government and other service providers rely on census data to make important decisions. These can include how money will be spent on:

  • schools where our children are educated
  • roads we drive on every day
  • hospitals we will all rely on

Taking part in the census is your chance to help make sure the services needed for the next 10 years and beyond by you and the community can be planned and provided for. Your participation counts to make a difference to everyone’s lives. That is why it is so important that everyone takes part. 

Additionally, it is also compulsory by Law to respond to take part in the Census 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.

This question on religion was the only voluntary question on the 2011 census. That instant 7.2 % of people who were counted chose not to answer it compared to 7.7% of people in 2001.Thus a slight increase of people  chose to respond this question in 2011. 

A comparison of the 2001 to the 2011 census revealed that the percentages of religious affiliations were:




No Religion





















Any other religion



It can be seen that despite falling numbers, Christianity remains the largest religion in 2011 and that Islam is the most common religion after Christianity. Meanwhile the proportion of people having no religion has increased to a quarter of the population. 

The 16th Question: 

In the current Census taking place on Sunday 21st March, 2021, the Question number 16 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 16.

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 15th Question in the Census form reads: What is your ethnic group?

The compulsory 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 16 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.

Heartiest Felicitations on the Happy and Auspicious Occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Aba Abdillah Imam Husayn (A.S.), Abul Fadhl Abbas (A.S.)    and Imam Ali Zaynul Abideen (A.S.)   

Wa ma tawfiqi illa billah.

Sheikh Fazle Abbas Datoo
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Resident Alim
Wessex Shia Ithna Asheri Jamaat