In a recent interview with the BBC, British Home Secretary Jackoi Smith made some interesting observations about the rapid spread of Islam in Europe. According to Smith, around 50,000 Britishers are converting to Islam each year and since 2001, four lakh Britishers have converted to Islam. He said the Muslim population in Britain has reached 20 lakh and followers of Islam are now the second biggest population in Britain after Christians. He even suggested setting up an Islamic University in Britain given the overwhelming population of the Muslims in that country. The momentum and intensity with which Islam is spreading in the West has puzzled the policy makers, religious scholars, researchers and media there. The conversions have especially gained unimaginable momentum after 9/11. Most of the researchers believe that the fast erosion of the religious and cultural values in the Western societies is pushing its people towards Islam that offers a more comprehensive, well-knit and value-oriented cultural, social and family structure. According to a recent report in the prestigious Time magazine, hundreds of new mosques are coming up in the West and most of the European cities now get to hear Azan (call for prayer) five times a day. In Rome a grand mosque is coming up at a whopping cost of $3 crore for which the land has been donated by the local government.
LONDON – In a move to assure its Muslim community introduction of the first ID cards in Britain since the Second World War was not signaling them out, the government will reportedly exempt Muslim women from showing their faces on the controversial ID cards. On Monday, April 26, British Home Secretary, David Blunkett is to unveil plans for a national pilot of biometric testing, the technology used in ID cards, as part of a draft Bill to crack down on identity fraud, according to the Independent daily Sunday, April 25. As cards introduction, Blunkett came under severe attacks for not allowing enough debate over the ID British officials made it clear that if Muslim women do not want to reveal their faces in public, that would be respected, reported the Observer Sunday. “Instead of a photograph, there would be an exemption for certain people, who would only have to give fingerprint and iris-recognition data.