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David Lloyd George, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922, stated: "we are the greatest Mahomedan power in the world and one-fourth of the population of the British Empire is Mahomedan.There have been no more loyal adherents to the throne and no more effective and loyal supporters of the Empire in its hour of trial." This statement was later reiterated by Gandhi in 1920.In 1932, the Indian National Congress survey of 'all Indians outside India' (which included modern Pakistani and Bangladeshi territories) estimated that there were 7,128 Indians living in the United Kingdom.

The first group of Muslims to come to the UK in significant numbers, in the 18th century, were lascars (sailors) recruited from the Indian subcontinent, largely from the Bengal region, to work for the East India Company on British ships, some of whom settled down and took local wives.Due to the majority being lascars, the earliest Muslim communities were found in port towns.Naval cooks also came, many of them from the Sylhet Division of the Bengal Presidency in British India (now in Bangladesh).There are also high numbers in High Wycombe, Slough, Leicester, Derby, Manchester, Leeds and the mill towns of Northern England.There are also relatively large concentrations in the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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