In the 2001 census 14.3% of the Birmingham population identified themselves as Muslim. This is significantly higher than the average for England and Wales of 3.0%. The Muslim community in Birmingham is considered one of the most diverse after London with a wide spectrum of people originally from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Although the earliest Muslims to arrive in Birmingham and England generally are said to have been from Yemen and the regions of India now known as Bangladesh, it is the Kashmiri community from Mirpur in Pakistan who form the largest group of migrated Muslims. The majority of the Muslims in Birmingham continue to be born abroad as more and more migrants arrive into the city although the number of British-born Muslims and those who convert to the faith are said to be near 50% of the total Muslim population. More recent Muslim settlers hail from Somalia, Kosovo and Algeria and neighbouring nations
The first mosque in Birmingham was the conversion of a terraced house in Balsall Heath but later a grand project was undertaken by Muslims of Indian and Pakistani origin with the development of the Birmingham Central Mosque in Belgrave Middleway, Highgate, which was conceived in the 1960s and then opened in 1975 to great acclaim as the largest mosque in Western Europe and has since cemented its role as one of Britain’s largest and most prominent Islamic centres.
There are currently just over 200 mosques in the city, inluding purpose built places of worship, converted warehouses and cinemas as well as former homes, schools and centres. The other prominent mosques and Islamic centres in the city include the Central Jamia Masjid Ghamkol Sharif (located on Poet’s Corner in Golden Hillock Road, Sparkhill), Markazi Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith (a former grand library and now modern refurbished Islamic centre and mosque in Green Lane, Small Heath) and the ‘Amaanah’ or Bordesley Centre in Camp Hill run by the Muath Welfare Trust and recently renovated with a generous government grant to continue to provide educational and spiritual services to the large citywide Muslim community. The Bordelsey Centre was established by the city’s Yemeni community.
Birmingham is home to numerous Islamic schools and has a rich array of Muslim bookstores and libraries including the exhibition centres of the Islamic Propagation Centre International (IPCI), one of the country’s longest running Islamic daw’ah (or propagation) organisations. The city also has a Shariah Council run by the Birmingham Mosque Trust.