Islam in Scotland
The Glasgow Central Mosque is the largest Sunni mosque in Glasgow
Total population
119,872 – 2.2% (2022 Census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Glasgow City48,766 – 7.9%
City of Edinburgh18,034 – 3.5%
Aberdeen City6,465 – 2.9%
Dundee City6,232 – 4.2%
Majority Sunni Islam
Muslim Population History
in Scotland
2011 76,737+80.3%
2022 119,872+56.2%
Source: Office for National Statistics and National Records of Scotland

Islam in Scotland includes all aspects of the Islamic faith in Scotland. The first Muslim known to have been in Scotland was a medical student who studied at the University of Edinburgh from 1858 to 1859. The production of goods and Glasgow's busy port meant that many lascars were employed there.[4] Most Muslims in Scotland are members of families that immigrated in the later decades of the 20th century. At the 2011 census, Muslims comprised 1.4 per cent of Scotland's population (76,737).[5] In the 2022 census, this grew to 2.2% of the population (119,872).[1]


The first named Muslim known in Scotland was Wazir Beg from Bombay (now "Mumbai"). He is recorded as being a medical student who studied at the University of Edinburgh in 1858 and 1859.[4] Manufacturing and Glasgow's busy seaport meant that many Lascars were employed there. Dundee was at the peak of importing jute, and sailors from Bengal were also seen at its port. Records from the Glasgow Sailors' Home show that nearly a third (5,500) of the boarders in 1903 were Muslim Lascars.[citation needed]

However, the immigration of Muslims to Scotland is a relatively recent event. The majority of Scottish Muslims are members of families who immigrated in the late 20th century. Scotland's Muslims in 2001 represented just 0.9% of the population (42,557),[6] with 30,000 in Glasgow.[7] By 2011, the Muslim population had increased to 76,737, accounting for 1.4% of Scotland's population.[8]


Muslims in Scotland are an ethnically diverse population. Although a majority of Muslims are of Pakistani (58%) origin, 9.8% are Arab, 7.8% are White European and 7% are African. Glasgow has the highest Muslim population of any city in Scotland with 5% of residents identifying as Muslim in the 2011 census. Pollokshields and Southside Central are the wards with the highest concentration of Muslim residents – 27.8% and 15.7% respectively. 37.3% of Muslim in Scotland were born in Scotland, with another 7.3% born elsewhere in the United Kingdom.[5] Edinburgh is home to the second highest population of Muslims in Scotland. Taken together, Glasgow and Edinburgh are home to around 60% of all Muslims in Scotland.[9]


According to information from the 2011 Scottish census, 71% of Muslims in Scotland consider their only national identity to be Scottish or British (or any combination of UK identities). The census concluded "Muslims have a strong sense of belonging to Scotland in particular and the UK more generally."[5]

Education and employment

In 2011, 37.5% of Scottish Muslims held degree level qualifications compared to the Scotland average of 27.1%. 21.4% of Muslims in Scotland had no qualifications, slightly lower than the 22.9% average for Scotland. Only 4.5% of Muslims in Scotland had poor English language skills.[5]

Muslims in Scotland in 2011 were less likely to be employed full-time (31%) than the general population (51%). Contributing factors for this include Muslims being more likely to be students (19%) than the general population (6%), and 25% of Muslim women 'looking after the home or family', in comparison to 5.6% of women from the overall population.[5] 8.7% of Scottish Muslims were unemployed, whereas 6.3% of the general population were unemployed.[5] Approximately a third of Scottish Muslims working full-time are self-employed, compared with 12% of the general population.[10]


Main article: List of mosques in Scotland

Edinburgh Central Mosque
Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre
Dundee Central Mosque

Some important mosques in the major cities of Scotland are Glasgow Central Mosque, Edinburgh Central Mosque, Aberdeen Mosque and Islamic Centre, and Dundee Central Mosque.

Notable Scottish Muslims

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Scotland's Census 2022 - Ethnic group, national identity, language and religion - Chart data". Scotland's Census. National Records of Scotland. 21 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024. Alternative URL 'Search data by location' > 'All of Scotland' > 'Ethnic group, national identity, language and religion' > 'Religion'
  2. ^ "Census 2011: Religion: KS211NI (administrative geographies)". Archived from the original on 25 February 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Summary: Religious Group Demographics". Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b "LTSCOTLAND.ORG.UK". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Elshayyal, Khadijah. "Scottish Muslims in Numbers: Understanding Scotland's Muslim population through the 2011 Census" (PDF). University of Edinburgh.
  6. ^ Scottish Government, St Andrew's House (28 February 2005). "Analysis of Religion in the 2001 Census". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  7. ^ Young Muslims UK, accessed 4 August 2010
  8. ^ "Scotland's Census 2011 – Table KS209SCb" (PDF). Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  9. ^ Bonino, Stefano (2015). "Scottish Muslims Through a Decade of Change: Wounded by the Stigma, Healed by Islam, Rescued by Scotland". Scottish Affairs. 24 (1): 78–105. doi:10.3366/scot.2015.0054. ISSN 0966-0356.
  10. ^ Cameron, Lucinda (29 November 2016). "Study finds Muslims more likely to have a degree than other Scots". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Summit on religious harmony is thrown into discord by Malaysia". The Times. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
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