Peterborough faith leaders react as one third of city say they are not religious
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Faith leaders in Peterborough have spoken of the importance of religion – as one third of city residents say they are not religious.
The data from the 2021 census showed that 32.5 per cent of people in the city do not follow any religion.
Christianity is the most popular faith in Peterborough, with 46.3 per cent of people saying they are Christian. The second most popular religion in the city is Islam, with 12.2 per cent saying they were Muslim.
"Faith is able to give meaning and purpose to people’s lives”
Canon Tim Alban Jones, Vice Dean of Peterborough said having a faith was important as it can provide comfort in tough times. He said: “As people of faith, we naturally see the value of religion in our lives and can see its many benefits. We recognise how faith is able to give meaning and purpose to people’s lives as well as spiritual comfort and practical support. In an increasingly fractured and fragmented society our major faiths have a part to play in bring people together and building a sense of belonging and identity.
“Our city of Peterborough is a place where many faiths and beliefs are able to thrive and flourish. One of the strengths of this great city is the way in which the major faiths work together promoting the common good and building up our common life. The Cathedral is very pleased to be able to play its part in this as it has throughout its 900 year history.”
‘Faith more important’ in today’s world
Abdul Choudhuri, chair of the Peterborough Joint Mosques Council agreed, and said: “As Muslims, we strongly believe how important faith is. It teaches you how to be a good human being, how to help the needy, and how as human beings we are all equal.
"That is even more important as the world is torn apart by wars and disease.”
Mr Choudhuri said the Muslim population was growing in Peterborough, as well as across the world, and said: “Many years ago, we had a small Mosque on Cromwell Road – now we have one of the biggest in the region, with 2,000 people turning up on Friday.”
He also spoke of the importance of the relationship between the different faiths in the city.
He said: “There is a very harmonious relationship between all the faiths in Peterborough. We have an interfaith group, and we all work together.”
Nearly 40 different responses to question on Census
The census data also revealed how many different religions were being followed in the city.
The data shows 0.3 per cent of the city’s population are Buddhist, 1.8 per cent are Hindus, 0.1 per cent Jewish, and 0.6 per cent Sikhs.
Other religions selected as part of the census include 20 people saying the followed Satanism, 260 people saying they were Pagan, 47 people saying they were Wicca and 19 people saying they were Rastafarian.
Nine people said they followed Shamanism, nine people said they followed Shintoism, and 82 people said they were Spiritualist.
In total there were 39 different responses given.