The Paris attacks have drawn renewed attention to Europe’s growing Muslim population. In several European countries such as Germany and the Netherlands, serious concerns have been raised about the challenges of integration. The Muslim share of Europe’s total population has been increasing steadily by about 1 percentage point a decade – from 4 per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 2010.

According to the US-based Pew Research Center think-tank, the number of Muslims in Europe is about 44million. Within EU countries, the figure is around 19million. In Europe, Russia’s population of 14million Muslims – 10 per cent of its total – is the largest on the continent.

In the EU, Germany and France have the biggest Muslim populations, both being home to around 4.7million. By contrast, the UK has about 2.9million Muslims – the third largest number. However, at 7.5 per cent of the population, France has the highest proportion of Muslims of any major nation in Western Europe. Studies suggest this will pass 10 per cent by 2030. Muslims make up 6 per cent of the population in the Netherlands, 5.9 per cent in Belgium, 5.8 per cent in Germany and 4.8 per cent in the UK. The French capital of Paris and its metropolitan area also has more Muslims than any other city in the EU – an estimated 1.7million.

This is partly due to the legacy of the bitter war for Algeria, France’s Muslim former colony, in the 1950s. Tensions surrounding France’s Muslim community have long been simmering in the banlieues – vast concrete slums dominated by immigrants.