Mohammed is now the third most popular boy's name in England. So why this shabby effort to conceal it?
By Max Hastings
Last updated at 4:02 AM on 11th September 2009
Comments (212) Add to My Stories This week, the Office of National Statistics published a list of the most popular boys' names in Britain: Jack, Oliver, Thomas, Harry, Joshua, Alfie, Charlie, Daniel.
They reflect a cultural tradition as old as the nation's history, and would provoke approving nods from Jack the Ripper, Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Becket and Harry Hotspur.
There is just one small problem: the list is deceitful. In reality, the third most popular choice for boy children born last year in England and Wales was not Thomas, but Mohammed.
Deceitful: When both spellings of Mohammed are combined it is the third most popular boys' name in Britain
The ONS explains blithely that it had no intent to deceive. Its normal practice is to catalogue different spellings separately, as in Mohammed, Muhammed and so on.
But if you add these variants together, as surely seems logical, then Mohammed is right up there, near the top of the list.
Unfortunately, in recent times we have been given plentiful cause for paranoia about attempts by official bodies to conceal from us information about the changing face of Britain which our rulers know that many people will not like.
Immigration figures are routinely distorted. In a rare moment of honesty, a Labour Home Secretary conceded that he had no idea just how many migrants dwell in this country, because of the huge and unquantified pool of illegals.
Many EU nations decline to collate statistics about the religious affiliations of their populations, to avoid rousing sentiment against Muslims.
The ONS's hit parade of children's names, as released for publication, seemed designed to mask a simple truth which dismays millions of people, and which politicians and bureaucracies go to great lengths to bury: the Muslim population of Britain is growing extraordinarily fast.
In 2007, 28 per cent of children born in England and Wales, rising to 54 per cent in London, had at least one foreign-born parent. In 2008, 14.4 per cent of primary school children claimed some other tongue than English as their first language.
The Muslim population is now close to two million, over 3 per cent, and rising fast because Muslim families have more children than most of the rest of us, many of them named Mohammed or Muhammed.
Muslim population has doubled in 30 years, and will double again on present projections by 2015. By 2060, Britain is expected to be the most populous nation in the EU, with 77 million people - this, though today Germany's population is 20 million larger than ours.