The number of Britons choosing to become Muslims has nearly doubled in the past decade, according to one of the most comprehensive attempts to estimate how many people have embraced Islam. Yet, despite the often negative portrayal of Islam, thousands of Britons are adopting the religion every year. Previous estimates have placed the number of Muslim converts in the UK at between 14,000 and 25,000.
But a new study by the inter-faith think-tank Faith Matters suggests the real figure could be as high as 100,000, with as many as 5,000 new conversions nationwide each year.
Denise Horsley and Paul Martin are among these British converts. Herewith their stories about embracing Islam;
Denise Horsley, 26, dance teacher
Denise Horsley lives in North London. She converted to Islam last year.
"I was introduced to Islam by my boyfriend Naushad...I was interested in his faith but I went on my own journey to discover more about religion.
"I bought loads of books on all the different religions but I kept coming back to Islam - there was something about it that just made sense, it seemed to answer all the questions I had.
"During Ramadan I"d sit and listen to the Qur"anic recitations and would be filled with such happiness and warmth. One day I decided there and then to take my shahada. I walked down to the reception and said I was ready to convert, it was as simple as that.
"I grew up Christian and went to a Catholic school. Islam to me seemed to be a natural extension of Christianity. The Qur"an is filled with information about Jesus, Mary, the angels and the Torah. It"s part of a natural transition.”
Paul Martin, 27
Paul Martin was just a student when he decided to convert to Islam in an ice-cream shop in Manchester four years ago.
"I liked the way the Muslims students I knew conducted themselves. It"s nice to think about people... I just preferred the Islamic lifestyle and from there I looked into the Qur"an. I was amazed to see Islam"s big emphasis on science.
"Then I was introduced by a Muslim friend to a doctor who was a few years older than me. We went for a coffee and then a few weeks later for an ice cream. It was there that I said I would like to be a Muslim. I made my shahada (Islamic confession of faith) right there, in the ice cream shop.