Mohammed is now the most popular name for baby boys in Britain, according to new data released by the United Kingdom's Office of National Statistics (ONS) -- reflecting the growing influence there of Islam.
The name Mohammed has overtaken Jack, which had topped the list for the past 14 years but has now been relegated to third spot.
The new data (which covers all births in 2009 in England and Wales), is not, of course, politically correct, and therefore it is not surprising that the ONS has resorted to creative accounting to obscure the statistical reality.
In an official press release, the ONS insists that Oliver is the single most popular name for boys. It declares: "Oliver climbed one to become the most popular name for newborn boys. Jack fell to number two after 14 years at the top spot. Harry rose one place to number three and William rose two places to number eight, while Thomas moved down to number six and Daniel to number ten. Alfie advanced two places to number four. There were no new entries in the 2009 top 10 most popular names for baby boys in England and Wales." The official list has Mohammed at number 16.
But an analysis of the top names for boys shows that, when different spellings of the name are lumped together, Mohammed is number one. A total of 7,549 newborn boys were given 12 variations of the Muslim name: Mohammed, Muhammad, Mohammad, Muhammed, Mohamed, Mohamad, Muhamed, Mohammod, Mahamed, Muhamad, Mahammed and Mohmmed.
By contrast, the name Oliver was given to 7,364 babies, making it the second most popular boy's name.
According to the ONS data sets, the number of babies named Mohammed has increased by more than half since 1999, when the name was given to 4,579 newborns. (By way of comparison, the single spelling of Mohammed was ranked at number 73 in the list in 1964, and 87th in 1944. The name Mohammad first entered the top 30 list in 2000.)
The surge in the number of British boys named Mohammed stems from a growing Muslim community in Britain that the official 2001 census put at 2.8 percent of the population, but that other surveys say is rapidly approaching the 5 percent mark.
According to the Washington, DC-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, in a September 2010 analysis titled "Muslim Networks and Movements in Western Europe," there are now 2.8 million Muslims living in Britain, or 4.6 percent of the population.
In absolute terms, Britain has the third largest Muslim community on the continent, after Germany (4,119,000) and France (3,574,000). In percentage terms, Britain is in ninth position, after Belgium (6.0 percent), France (5.7 percent), Austria (5.7 percent), Switzerland (5.7 percent), The Netherlands (5.5 percent), Germany (5.0 percent), Sweden (4.9 percent) and Greece (4.7 percent). British Muslims account for 16.8 percent of all Muslims in Western Europe.
The official 2001 census recorded a total of 1,591,000 Muslims in Britain.
The most widely-publicized figures for Britain's Muslim population since the 2001 census have been estimates from the British government's Labour Force Survey (LFS), which were first published by the Times of London newspaper in January 2009, and later confirmed by Hansard, the official report of debates in the British Parliament.
According to the LFS data, the Muslim population in Britain grew from 1,870,000 in 2004 to 2,422,000 in 2008, an increase of more than 500,000. During those four years, Britain's Muslim population multiplied 10 times faster than the rest of society. By contrast, the number of Christians in the country fell by more than 2 million during the same period.
As the number of Muslims in Britain increases, so are the frictions within British society. In an effort to ease religious tensions in the country, the British government in 2006 enacted the Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which creates a new crime of intentionally stirring up religious hatred against people on religious grounds. Predictably, the new law has led to zealousness bordering on the absurd.
In Nottingham, for example, the Greenwood Primary School cancelled a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In Scarborough, the Yorkshire Coast College removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar not to offend Muslims. In Scotland, the Tayside Police Department apologized for featuring a German shepherd puppy as part of a campaign to publicize its new non-emergency telephone number. The postcards are potentially offensive to the city's 3,000-strong Muslim community: Islamic legal tradition says that dogs are impure.
In Glasgow, a Christian radio show host was fired after a debate between a Muslim and a Christian on whether Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life." In Birmingham, two Christians were told by police "you can't preach here, this is a Muslim area." In Cheshire, two students at the Alsager High School were punished by their teacher for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. Also in Cheshire, a 14-year-old Roman Catholic girl who attends Ellesmere Port Catholic High School was branded a truant by teachers for refusing to dress like a Muslim and visit a mosque.
In Liverpool, a Christian couple was forced to sell their hotel after a female Muslim guest accused the pair of insulting her during a debate about Islam. In London, Rory Bremner, a political comedian, said that every time he writes a sketch about Islam, he fears that he is signing his own death warrant. At the same time, Scotland Yard says that Muslims who launch a shoe at another person are not committing a crime because the practice is Islamic symbolism.
In Kent, police have been banned from asking for a person's "Christian" name, in case this request offends Muslims. The Kent Police Department's 62-page 'Faith and Culture Resource' guide tells officers to use "personal and family name" instead of "Christian" name. In East London, all elected members of Tower Hamlets town council were told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Special arrangements were also made to disrupt council meetings to allow for Muslim prayer. Meanwhile, the council renamed a staff Christmas party as a "festive meal."
Elsewhere in Britain, a foster mother has been struck off the social services register for allowing a Muslim girl in her care to convert to Christianity. Officials insist the woman, who has who has looked after more than 80 children in the past ten years, failed in her duty to preserve the girl's religion and should have tried to stop the baptism. They ruled that the girl, now 17, should stay away from church for six months.
In London, the Harrow Council has provoked a storm of protest after announcing plans to offer Islamic halal-only menus in the borough's 52 state primary schools. Parents are outraged that meat prepared according to Islamic Sharia law is being pushed on non-Muslim children. Meanwhile, most of the in-flight meals on British Airways could soon be halal. The airline also says Muslim staff may wear veils, but Christian employees may not wear crosses.
Across Britain, Muslim bus and taxi drivers are telling blind passengers that they cannot bring their "unclean" dogs on board. The problem of prohibiting guide dogs on religious grounds has become so widespread that the matter was recently raised in the House of Lords.
In some British prisons, radical Muslim gangs are imposing Sharia law on non-Muslim inmates, who have been forced to stop playing Western music, take down pictures of women from their cells and stop eating sausage. The gangs are also targeting non-Muslim inmates for forced conversions to Islam.
In Leeds, more than 200 Muslim inmates at a high security prison are set to launch a multi-million pound claim for compensation after they were offered ham sandwiches during the month of Ramadan. They say their human rights were breached when they were offered the meat, which is forbidden by Islam. At the same time, Muslim sex offenders in British prisons are asking to be exempt from a prison treatment program because the idea that "criminals should not have to talk about their offenses" is a "legitimate Islamic position."
Meanwhile, Islamic justice is spreading throughout Britain at an astonishing rate. At least 85 Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in the country, almost 20 times as many as previously believed. A study by the Civitas think tank found that scores of unofficial tribunals and councils regularly apply Islamic law to resolve domestic, marital and business disputes, many operating in mosques. It warns of a "creeping" acceptance of Sharia principles in British law. The study follows the outcry over remarks by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who has said that Sharia law in Britain is "unavoidable."
Demographers predict that Britain can expect to see a large increase in the Muslim population by the middle of the 21st century. In the words of Imam Abdullah al-Hasan of the East London Mosque: "Islam is here to stay in Britain. Islam is here to stay in Europe."