An Overview of London

London has been called a ‘world in one city’ and that’s not just empty rhetoric. The brilliant feat carried off here is that while immigrants, the city’s life blood, continue to flow in and contribute their energy and cultures to the capital’s already spicy melting pot, London nevertheless feels quintessentially British, whether it’s those boxy black cabs, the red double deckers or those grand symbols of Britain – the mother of all parliaments at Westminster, the silhouette of Tower bridge above the muddy Thames or the already world-famous London Eye, barely a decade old (source).

London is made up of two ancient cities which are now joined together. The City of London, known simply as ‘the City’, is the business and financial heart of the United Kingdom. It is also known as the Square Mile (2.59 sq km/1 sq mi). It was the original Roman settlement (ancient Londinium), making it the oldest part of London and already 1,000 years old when the Tower of London was built. The City of Westminster, on the other hand, is where Parliament and most of the government offices are located. Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the Queen and the Royal family, is located here too.

More than 270 nationalities make up the fabric of the city. Many have family roots in Africa and India, formerly governed by the British empire. Although predominantly white and Anglo-Saxon, more than a quarter of London’s population is from an alternative ethnic background, making up half of the Britain’s total ethnic minorities. This gives London the largest non-white population of any European city and is an important part of its cosmopolitan feel. Over 250 languages are spoken in the city, making the capital the most linguistically diverse city in the world (source).

Religion in London

London, being the capital of UK and the largest city in England, has a large religious population. Christianity, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist are all the major religions in this city. Generally, The Church of England is the most recognized religion, but as this is a vibrant populated city, all religions are recognized (source).

The Jewish population is the most heavily concentrated in London, with 56 per cent of the Jewish population of Great Britain living there. London’s Jewish community grew in the 19th century, when refugees came from Nazi Germany. London’s oldest synagogue is Bevis Marks in the City.

Just over half (52 per cent) of Britain’s Hindu population live in London. Many of the Indians living in London are Hindus. In 1995, some built a magnificent place of worship in the north-western suburb of Neasden. It is called Swaminarayan Temple, and its many parts were carved from marble and limestone in India, then sent to London to be assembled.

Around two-fifths of Muslims (38 per cent) live in London. Many members of London’s large Islamic community are Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Others, such as Arabs and Turks, belong to smaller minority groups. The city’s Islamic places of worship, called mosques, range from ordinary local buildings to the impressive Central London Mosque in Regent’s Park.

Thirty-one percent of the Sikh population live in London. Of the 149,000 Buddhists living in Britain, thirty-six percent live in London (source).

Currently, Chris & Sherry Waye are on deputation as missionaries to the British Isles. Would you pray that God would send more laborers to this city and country to lift His name high?

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