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The Force is strong in Islington!

PUBLISHED: 15:53 01 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:19 22 July 2010

ALMOST 3,000 people living in Islington claim to be practising Jedi – the mystical warriors from blockbuster movie franchise Star Wars.

ALMOST 3,000 people living in Islington claim to be practising Jedi - the mystical warriors from blockbuster movie franchise Star Wars.

The borough is well known for being a cosmopolitan and colourful area where residents from every country and culture in the world rub shoulders.

But in addition to brightly dressed African Christians, black-clad orthodox Jews and Muslims in skullcaps, there may be more than a few figures in long flowing robes in our midst.

That is if the last census in 2001 is to believed - because 2,904 Islington residents listed their religious status as "Jedi Knight". There were also 166 pagans and 31 self-proclaimed witches.

Retired greengrocer Richard Walker, 58, is president of a Star Wars fan club with 800 members and regularly dresses up as hairy Wookie Chewbacca at conventions.

He said: "You always hear about all these people who are Jedi. But the funny thing is that I have been a fan of the films since 1977 and I have never met a single one. Perhaps they go use their powers to avoid being seen. There might be some in my club - one bloke comes to mind."

He also thinks Islington's nascent Jedi population may be a force for good in a violent and crime-ridden borough. "It does have a message that can help", he said. "Think about things before you do them and don't go round hating people."

But the Reverend Paul Weary, of Archway Baptist Church, is not convinced the respondents take the Jedi faith as seriously as Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker. He said: "There may be some people who really find religious inspiration from the movies, but I somehow suspect most people said it very much tongue in check."

And Reverend Weary is yet to encounter a lightsabre battle on the streets on N19. He said: "My son is a huge Star Wars fan, but apart from the lightsabre fights on the computer in my own house I am yet to see any Jedi in Islington."

l Are you a practising Jedi? Call the newsdesk on 0208 342 5777 and tell us about your beliefs.


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