The Muslim population in England and Wales has increased by 80 percent since 2001 according to a British government census. With 2.7 million known adherents — 40 percent living in and around London — Islam has emerged as Britain’s second-largest religion after Christianity. Immigration accounts for most of the increase but conversions are on the rise making Islam the UK’s fastest-growing faith. Data from mosques indicates there may be more than 100,000 converts in Britain of various ethnicities. There were 5,000 conversions in 2012 of which three quarters were young females. What’s fueling this trend?
“Make me a Muslim,” a documentary that recently aired on BBC World, begins with “growing numbers of white British women are converting to Islam and asks but why would they want to give up all the freedoms their Western life allows?” It seeks to discover the challenges they face following the precepts of their new faith within a society known for its liberal, freewheeling lifestyle.