Did London Close 500 Churches & Open 423 Mosques? No, Fake News!
“Londonistan was built on the sad ruins of English Christianity,” said the report based on shoddy research.
“British multiculturalists are feeding Islamic fundamentalism. Muslims do not need to become the majority in the UK; they just need gradually to Islamise the most important cities. The change is already taking place,” read the opening lines of a report published by Gatestone Institute, which claims to be a non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council.
The study report titled ‘Londonistan: 423 New Mosques; 500 Closed Churches’ was first published in 2017. However, the report went viral again after it was picked by the blog YourNewsWire.com in March 2018, alleging that “creeping Islamaisation” in Britain’s capital was “almost complete.”
The report claims that with the opening of 423 Mosques, and the simultaneous closing of 500 Churches, Londonistan was built on the “sad ruins of English Christianity”.
The story was widely shared by people on social media.
However, the report by Gatestone is based on “shoddy research”, says Snopes, one of the largest fact-checking news websites on the internet.
According to Snopes, the alleged think-tank derived its numbers for the “new mosque” claim from which is a blog dedicated for cataloging British mosques. However, the catelogue does not claim that it was a database of only new mosques. For example, as the fact-checking website pointed out, the Fisbury Park Mosque was built in the 1990s, and the Leytonstone Mosque was built in 1976.
How Did they Arrive at 500 Churches Being Closed?
Wall Street Journal in a report in 2012 pointed the recurring trend in Britain where churches were converted into private homes.
“Although it’s still relatively rare in the US, the adaptive reuse of churches has become a popular practice in other countries, like the UK. In 2006, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors found that since 2001, about 500 churches in London alone had been converted into homes. In other countries, such as Germany and Russia, people still regard the concept of living in a church as disrespectful, says Bart Kellerhuis of Utrecht-based firm Zecc Architects, which has done several church-to-home conversions in the Netherlands,” said the report.
However, the WSJ article does not note when the 500 churches were closed, and as Snopes pointed out, it also does not take into account the churches that were closed but not converted into private homes.
Dr Peter Brierley, an British religious statistician and author of the report UK Church Statistics, reportedly found that 700 new churches were opened in London between 2005 and 2012, leading to an increase in the total number of churches.
He also reportedly predicted that England will have approximately 40,080 churches by 2020.
“The YourNewsWire.com article is meant to enflame fears that Muslims in London are starting to outnumber Christians, and that Christians (or their culture) will soon be displaced — but thanks to poor research and cherry-picked numbers, it gives a false impression of Britain’s current reality,” noted Snopes.
(With inputs from Snopes, and Wall Street Journal)
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