General Information

Status: Part of United Kingdom

First Secretary: Rhodri Morgan (2000)

Land area: 8,019 sq mi (20,768 sq km)

Population (1993 est.): 2,906,500

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Cardiff, 676,400 (metro. area), 280,800 (city proper)

Monetary unit: British pound sterling (£)

Languages: English, Welsh

Religions: Calvinistic Methodist, Church of Wales (disestablished—Anglican), Roman Catholic

Wales lies west of England and is separated from England by the Cambrian Mountains. It is bordered on the northwest, west, and south by the Irish Sea and on the northeast and east by England. Wales is generally hilly; the Snowdon range in the northern part culminates in Mount Snowdon (3,560 ft, 1,085 m), Wales's highest peak.

Until 1999, Wales was ruled solely by the UK government and a secretary of state. In the referendum of Sept. 18, 1997, Welsh citizens voted to establish a national assembly. Wales will remain part of the UK, and the secretary of state for Wales and members of parliament from Welsh constituencies will continue to have seats in parliament. Unlike Scotland, which in 1999 voted to have its own parliament, the national assembly will not be able to legislate and raise taxes. Wales will, however, control most of its local affairs. The Welsh national assembly officially opened on July 1, 1999.

The prehistoric peoples of Wales left behind megaliths and other impressive monuments. They were followed by settlements of Celts in the region. The Romans occupied the region from the 1st to the 5th century A.D. Thereafter Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invaded the British island, but they left Wales virtually untouched. Beginning in the 8th century, the various Welsh tribes fought with their Anglo-Saxon neighbors to the east, but the Welsh were able to thwart attempted invasions. After William the Conqueror subdued England in 1066, however, his Norman armies marched into Wales in 1093 and occupied portions of it. By 1282, the English conquest of Wales was complete, and in 1284, the Statute of Rhuddlan formalized England's sovereignty over Wales. In 1301, King Edward I gave his son, who later became Edward II, the title Prince of Wales, a gesture meant to indicate the unity and relationship between the two lands. With the exception of Edward II, all subsequent British monarchs have given this title to their eldest son.

In 1400, the Welsh prince Owen Glendower led a revolt against the English, expelling them from much of Wales in just four years. By 1410, however, his rebellion was crushed. In 1485, Henry VII became king of England. A Welshman and the first in the Tudor line, Henry's reign, and those of subsequent Tudors, made English rule more palatable to the Welsh. His son, King Henry VIII, joined England and Wales under the Act of Union in 1536.

The Industrial Revolution transformed Wales and threatened the traditional livelihood of farmers and shepherds. In the 20th century, the economy of Wales was based primarily on coal production. After World War I, coal prices dropped; this, coupled with the Great Depression, fueled high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty.

In recent years, a resurgence of the Welsh language and culture has demonstrated a stronger national identity among the Welsh, and politically the country moved toward greater self-government (devolution). In 1999, with the strong support of Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, Wales opened the Welsh national assembly, the first real self-government Wales has had in more than 600 years.

Islamic History and Muslims

Although the Islamic community is small, it has an important part to play in the diverse mosaic of contemporary Welsh culture. According to the latest census, which was the first to ask a religious question, there are approximately 24,000 Muslims in Wales, including migrants and Muslims born here. Islam in Wales has in fact a long, albeit at times largely hidden, history. Anecdotal evidence from Muslim communities in Swansea and Cardiff suggests that as early as 1870, prayer rooms had been established in private houses situated near the docks to serve the religious needs of Muslim sailors who were of predominently Yemeni origin. In Cardiff’s Butetown, by the late 1930s a Yemeni mosque had been established and this subsequently became the South Wales Islamic Centre. In 1947, Wales and Cardiff’s first purpose built mosque, the Peel Street Mosque, partially funded by public monies, was opened in a full civic ceremony attended by the then Lord Lieutenant, heralding the official recognition of Islam here. Oral histories gathered by the Butetown History and Arts Centre, paint a portrait of a local culture where diverse religions sat easily with each other and where local people, Christians and Muslims lived side by side without rancour, often publicly participating together in major religious festivals. Swansea followed rather later in that it was not until 1971 that the first purpose built mosque, the Swansea City Mosque and Islamic Centre, also known as the Central Mosque, was erected in the St Helens Road.

These initiatives were followed by the incremental growth of Islamic places of worship and Wales now has 40 mosques, the newest of which has recently opened in Bridgend. Places of worship tend to be concentrated in the major cities, with Cardiff having 11 mosques, Newport 7 and Swansea 4. Mosques are also to be found in Bangor, Barry, Haverfordwest, Lampeter, Llanelli, Neath, Pontypridd, Port Talbot and Wrexham. Wales is also served by three Islamic bookshops and one full-time Islamic primary school located in Cardiff. As the profile of Islam here has grown, a number of indigenous Islamic institutions have emerged with a remit to support of Muslim community and to educate the wider public in Wales about Islam. Emerging from the Association of Muslim Professionals Wales, the largest and most recent of these is the Muslim Council of Wales, an umbrella organisation that claims to represent 53 Muslim organisations and mosque associations throughout the country. The last decade has also seen the establishment of a number of smaller organisations such as the Cardiff University Islamic Society, the Swansea Muslim Youth League and the New Muslims Network Wales who constitute a lively presence on the internet, notably through the website. These groups have also established close working relations with many varied groups at local and national level and also with bodies such as local authorities and police forces and at the national level and through the Interfaith Council for Wales, with the National Assembly.

Islamic Centers and Organizations

North Wales Islamic Societies, URL:

Swansea Muslim Youth league, Brothers Hotline: 07092 021 093, Sisters Hotline: 07092 021 094,  E-mail:, URL:

New Muslims Network,  Email: , URL:

Bangor Mosque, 61 High Street Bangor LL57 Phone: 01248 354612, Email: ,

 Muslim Welfare Association of the Vale of Glamorgan, 332 Holton Road Barry CF63, Phone: 01446 745822, 01446 411504

Al-Manar Islamic & Cultural Centre, 2 Glynrhondda Street Cathays CardiffCF24 4AN Phone: Email:  ,
029 2022 6607

Islamic School Trust Mosque,
253 Penarth Road  Grangetown Cardiff CF1 7HS Phone: 02920239166

Jamia Masjid-Bilal, 61-63 Severn Road (off Cowbridge East Road) Cardiff CF11 9EA Phone: 029 2039 7640

Madina Mosque, 163-167 Woodville Road Cathays Cardiff CF2 4NW Phone:  029 2066 7256

Masjid Noor, 17 Maria Street Butetown Cardiff CF10 5HH Phone: 029 2049 8435

Masjid Umar - Islami Darasgah, 68 Connaught Road Cardiff CF24 3PX Phone: 029 2048 8454

Mosque (Islamic Shikka Prophieshtan), 37 Plantagenet Street Riverside Cardiff CF11 6AS Phone: 029 2022 1309

Noor-ul-Islam Mosque, Maria Street Bute Town Cardiff CF1 5HG Phone: 029 2049 8435
029 2049 8435

Shah Jalal Mosque & Islamic Cultural Centre,
3 Crwys Road Cathays Cardiff CF24 4NA Phone: 029 2048 0217

South Wales Islamic Centre,
9 Alice Street Butetown Cardiff CF10 5LB Phone: 029 2046 0243, 029 2046 0243

UKIM - Jamie Darul Isra,
21-23 Wyeverne Road Cathays Cardiff CF24 4BG Phone: 029 2034 4073  

Haverfordwest Mosque, 2 Albert Street Haverfordwest SA16 1PJ Phone: 01437 765791

Islamic Students Society (UWL),
University of Wales (Lampeter) Ceredigion

Llanelli Mosque,
Station Road Llanelli

Neath Mosque, Neath

Al-Noor Mosque, 23a Harrow Road Newport NP19 0AZ Phone: 01633 662032

Alexandra Road Mosque,
20 Alexandra Road Newport NP9 2GY

East Newport Islamic Cultural Centre,
12 Cedar Road Mainde Newport NP9 0BA

Hussaini Mission, Kingsway (corner of George Street) Newport NP20 1DT Phone: 01633 252511

Jamia Mosque, 183-186 Commercial Road Newport NP20 2PP Phone: 01633 662096

Newport Islamic Society for Gwent,
63 Stow Hill Newport NP9 4DX

Shah Poran Bangladeshi Jame Mosque, 51-52 Hereford Street Newport NP19 8DT Phone: 01633 243413

Port Talbot Mosque, Oakwood Lane  Port Talbot SA

Imam Khoei Islamic Centre Swansea, 88a St. Helens Road Swansea SA1 4BQ Phone: 01792 458372  Email:  ,

Swansea City Mosque & Islamic Centre,
14-15 St. Helens Road Swansea SA1 4AW Phone: 01792 654532

Islamic Students Society (UWS)
University of Wales (Swansea), Singleton Park Swansea SA2 8PP Email: ,

Hafod Islamic Cultural Centre, Odo Street Hafod Swansea SA 01792

Wrexham Mosque,
North East Wales Institute Mold Road Wrexham LL11 2AW

   Muslim Owned Business

Islam's History in Wales , Paul Chambers ( The Welsh Internationalist Magazine, Issue 168 , content&task=view&id=8&Itemid=77  , November, 2008).
Info please ( ,  November, 2008).
Islam Finder (  , November, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Wales, November 2008.