LONDON - London's Muslims suffer "serious discrimination and prejudice", mayor Ken Livingstone said Tuesday, as he published the first- ever report into their position in the British capital.
Muslims now make up one in 12 Londoners, said the report, released ahead of celebrations to be held Saturday in the city's central Trafalgar Square for the Eid al-Fitr Islamic holiday which marks the end of the month-long Ramadan fast.
The report found that Muslims had the highest unemployment rate of all faith groups and were disproportionately victims of religiously aggravated crime.
It was published by the mayor's office and the Muslim Council of Britain, the main British Muslim umbrella group, to illustrate the diversity of London's Muslim communities and the barriers faced by them.
Livingstone said he hoped it would combat "ignorance, prejudice and Islamophobia" in the media.
Britain is in the grip of debate about its Muslim community and their integration, 15 months on from a series of suicide bombings on London's transport system which killed 52 travellers and the four British Islamist bombers.
"London's future success and prosperity as a global city depends on our ability to welcome and respect people from all over the world," Livingstone said.
"One in 12 Londoners is Muslim and London's Muslim communities, in all their diversity, must play an essential part in the life of our city.
"However, Muslims in London face serious discrimination and prejudice. London's Muslims have the lowest rates of employment of all the faith groups.
"Only 15 percent of Muslim women aged 25 and over work full time compared with 37 percent of women in the general population.
"Muslims are disproportionately victims of religiously aggravated crime, more so than any other faith."
The report found that there were 1,004 reported faith hate crimes in London during 2005/06, an increase of 87 percent on the 2004/05 figure of 537.
While a third of Muslims in Britain live in overcrowded households, the figure rises to 40 percent in the capital.
Muslims have the lowest rates of employment and economic activity and the highest unemployment rate of all the faith groups in London.
Only 42 percent of Muslims aged 16 to 24 were economically active compared with 60 percent of the entire population, the report found.
And Muslims in the same age group have lower qualification levels compared with the general population.
The report found that London was home to Britain's largest Muslim community, 40 percent of whom were born in Britain.
Livingstone said: "The launch of 'Muslims in London' is timely given the current debates about Islam and Muslims, particularly in the media.
"I hope this report will increase understanding between communities and combat some of the ignorance, prejudice and Islamophobia."