Religion continues to play a part in the life and self-image of British communities and has increasing importance as a source or component of controversy, in government (Northern Ireland), writings and speeches (Salman Rushdie) and such areas as Sunday trading and schools.

Islam, with well over a million adherents in Britain, sees all aspects of life and government as subject to religious precepts and this has implications for politics, local government, education, dress, feminism and the secular consensus on which public affairs are based. At the local level especially, it makes news. It has no organized hierarchy of spokespeople; but groups of Muslims may form to express a particular view.

Reporters frequently have to ...

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