Changes in religious make-up of Redbridge “shocking”
Over the past 10 years the number of Jewish people living in Redbridge has declined by 30 per cent, a figure considered “shocking” by one rabbi.
The figures from the 2011 census also show that the number of Muslims living in the borough has more than doubled since the last census in 2001. The number of Christians has also decline but only by 15 percent.
Rabbi David Hulbert, of Bet Tikvah Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park, said: “Ten years is a long time and it’s a remarkable change, It’s staggering. It’s a shock to see the Jewish population going down 30 per cent, it’s a remarkable change in 10 years.”
He said that reasons for the change in the number of Jewish residents in Redbridge could be due to families having fewer children or because they are moving to other areas.
“Not enough Jewish people are being born and people are moving out with many going to north west London if they want to be more religious or going to Israel. The national figures are stable.”
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Iman Mohammed Fahim of South Woodford Mosque, Mulberry Way, South Woodford, said that the number of mosques in Redbridge made it an attractive place to live.
He said: “There are more mosques which people like to live near as it’s easier for their children to go to after school classes and they can attend the five daily prayers there.”
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Despite the changes in the religious make up of the borough, he said there should not be any tension in the future as Islam preaches tolerance.
“I think it will be very harmonious,” he said. “They should be very tolerant and very understanding as it’s a command of God to be nice to your neighbours and environment. There should be no problem.”
Rev Paul Harcourt, of All Saints’ Church, Inmans Row, Woodford Green, said that attendance during Christmas was high and that more than 2,000 people attended the service.
Mr Harcourt said: “Fifty years ago going to church was a habit for people but churches are just as active as they have ever been. There’s just not the church going culture which inflated figures in the past.”
He also said that the changes mean that communities and religious groups need to interact more.
“The different communities need to work hard to understand each other,” he added.