MUSLIMS IN AMERICA
There are between 6 and 7 million Muslims in America today. In other words, Muslims outnumber some Christian denominations and are equal to the number of Jews. Research done in the year 2000 by prominent American universities and Islamic foundations show that the number of Muslims is increasing rapidly and that Islam is growing stronger day by day.
The above graphic representation shows the rising numbers of mosques in America.
The main theme of this research, known as the Mosque Study Project, is the establishment of mosques in America. The reason for this is that mosques occupy a very special place in any statistical compilations done with regard to the American Muslim community. Mosques in America are both houses of worship and gathering places for talking with one another and launching cultural activities to make Islam more widely known. Every mosque establishes a relationship with the press to introduce Islam to a wider audience, speaks with local politicians, visits schools and churches, engages in interfaith dialogue and carries on other such activities. Thus, research done on these mosques is one of the most useful tools for gathering accurate and enlightening information on this community's state.
According to this research, America now has about 1,209 mosques, most of which were constructed very recently. Thirty percent of these mosques were built in the 1990s, and 32% were built in the 1980s. Other statistics show that in 1994, the total number of mosques in America was 962; in 2000, there was a 25% increase in this number.
These data show a natural parallel with the growing number of Muslims. For example, according to determinations made in 1994, the number of Muslims attending mosque services was 500,000; in 2000, this figure had increased to 2 million-an approximately 300% increase. A significant part of this number is composed of people who converted to Islam. The same research shows that about 30% of those worshippers are converts. According to these data, about 20,000 Americans accept Islam every year.44
The above figures are the result of research done before 9/11 and rely on data from the year 2000. In 2001, especially after 9/11, these figures have increased several fold.
Above we see pictures of mosques in various states.
This rapid growth of Islam in America is related in a news article, "Islam Is Growing in America," on the American army Internet site (www.defenselink.mil)
Muslims, those who believe in Islam, are everywhere in the United States. They may be your doctor or drive your taxi. They may serve you in restaurants or advise you in law. And they increasingly may be in the same foxhole, manning the same position or working on the same aircraft as you … In the United States, Islam is the fastest growing religion …45
|An important indication of Islam's rapid growth in America is the increasing number of schools offering an Islamic education. A New York Times report on New York's Islamic schools tells of the students' intense interest. (Right) San Diego's Muslims, as well as many others in America, were faced with a barrage of questions after 9/11. This appeared in a report entitled "Muslims bridge religious gaps by teaching more about faith."||(Above) A report on the Worldnet Daily Internet site states that after 9/11, students joined special educational programs to learn more about Islam. They were required to memorize Qur'anic verses and study Islamic history. (Middle) A report in The Oregonian, entitled "New Focus: Exploring Islam and Its Traditions," gives general information about American Muslims and Islam. (Below) In the above edition of the New York Times, a report entitled "Ramadan Enters New York City School Life" tells about the special Ramadan arrangements made in New York district schools for Muslim students.|
A New York Times article, "Islam Attracts Converts by the Thousands," contains interviews with converts, analyzes Islam's rapid rise in America, and states:
With some 6 million adherents in the United States, Islam is said to be the nation's fastest-growing religion, fueled by immigration, high birth rates and widespread conversion. One expert estimates that 25,000 people a year become Muslims in this country; some clerics say they have seen conversion rates quadruple since Sept. 11.46
An ABC News segment, "Islam: Rising Tide in America," reported that some sociologists predict that within 15 years there will be more Muslims than Jews in America.47
First chart we see the ethnic distribution of American Muslims. The great majority of America's Muslim population is South-Central Asian.Second chart on the right shows the rising mosque attendance rates by American Muslims. There has been a 77% increase. The fact sheet below, prepared by the U.S. Department of State, includes the main figures about Muslim life in America.
The continually rising influence of Islam has provided better opportunities for Muslims living in America. One place where this growth and development is most noticeable is in Dearborn, Michigan. An article in the Detroit News about the spread of Islam, particularly in Dearborn, mentioned the city's growing number of mosques. But, according to the article, this is not the only sign of Islam's rising influence; the effects of this growth can be seen in restaurants, shopping centers, and hospitals. For the first time in Michigan, in a McDonald's restaurant, meals are available using meat cut according to Islamic law. Prominent supermarkets in Dearborn have begun to sell "halal" meat. Oakwood Hospital officials have started to adjust the hospital's meal service especially for Muslim patients. Moreover, throughout the month of Ramadan, the cafeteria's service hours are arranged to suit Muslims.48
Like Dearborn, Muslims in Chicago are also quickly gaining influence. Here, the Muslim community is distinguished by its high level of education and prosperity. Research conducted in the 1990s demonstrated that 16% of the Muslim community's members were medical doctors, 33% were engineers, 44% had doctorate degrees, 84% had at least a bachelor's degree, and only 2% had less than a high school education. Moreover, Muslims' contributions to Chicago were highlighted. For example, the architect of the John Hancock Center and the Sears Tower was a Muslim: Dr. Fazlur Rahman. There is hardly a hospital without a Muslim doctor on its staff and there is hardly an engineering or electronic equipment manufacturer without Muslim engineers.49
(Above) A Florida Times report, "Finding Faith in Islam," tells about the converts' thoughts and ideas. A Seattle Times article entitled "Mosque overflows with faithful" reports that Seattle Muslims are crowding into their mosques. (Below) A report on the American Ministry of Defense's Internet site, entitled "Islam Growing in America," gives an account of the Muslims' increasing influence in American social life and introduces basic Islamic values.