Proving that Muslims are the fastest-growing religious community in the United States, a study released last week found the number of U.S. mosques has increased by 25 percent in six years.
The study titled “The Mosque in America: A National Portrait” found that the 1,209 mosques across the country, compared to 962 in 1994, are less bound by ethnic and racial divisions than in the past, according to Associated Press.
Despite popular disagreement over U.S. Muslim numbers, the new study, sponsored by four American Islamic organizations and led by Ihsan Bagby of Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., suggested there are 6 to 7 million Americans who consider themselves Muslim.
The statistics excluded Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, the Ahmaddiya movement and other groups viewed as heterodox by mainstream Islam, said Bagby.
If Bagby’s estimate is correct, the American Muslim population equals the commonly accepted figure of six million U.S. Jews.
Based on reports from Mosques across the country, 411,000 Muslims nationally attend the Friday Jumaa prayers on average. Seventy-eight percent of those who reported attending were men. While attendance by some women at Friday prayers is the norm in the United States, it is unheard of in many Muslim societies, said Bagby.
The study found worshipers were also ethnically diverse: one-third of respondents were South Asian, 30 percent African-American and 25 percent Arab. Nearly all surveyed mosques used English as the main language for sermons during Friday afternoon prayers.
Alex Smirnov is BCE’s research associate.