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The most popular Muslim name is shooting up popularity charts in Britain.

CAIRO — Varied spelling of the name of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) are ascending the charts of favored baby names in Britain, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday, December 21.

“Mohammed rose one place to number 22,” according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) of the favored top 50 boys’ and girls’ names picked by parents in England and Wales in 2006.

Another variant of the name has shot up the popularity charts.

The ONS breakdown showed that Muhammad is the fastest climber in the top 50 picks.

“New boys in the top 50 are Muhammad which climbed 12 places to number 44,” the survey added.

In 2006, 2,833 new babies were named Mohammed and 1,422 were given the name Muhammad.

The total exceeds the number of Georges (3,386) and Josephs (3,755).

There were 3,732 boys given the name Mohammed or one of its seven other variants in 2000.

Last year there were 4,532, a rise of nearly two thirds on the Millennium year.

Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of nearly 1.8 million, with 1.1 million over 18.

Immigrants

The rise of Mohammed as a name is linked to continued immigration from Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to the daily newspaper.

There were also waves of new arrivals from Islamic countries or countries with high Muslim populations in the Middle East and Africa.

The increasing popularity of the name may also reflect deepening loyalty among British Muslims to their faith, said the newspaper.

Integrating immigrants is becoming the burning issue in Britain with right-wing and conservative officials vowing to expel the un-adaptive or deny access to foreigners failing culture tests.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has called on immigrants to accept British values or “stay away”.

Islam has been winning hearts among Britain’s top cream during the few recent years, according to the growing number of converts.

Some of the country’s top landowners, celebrities and the offspring of senior establishment figures have embraced the Muslim faith, according to a study carried out by the Sunday Times in February, 2004.

About 14,000 mostly-elite white Britons having converted to Islam, according to the first authoritative study of the phenomenon.