A recent research published by the Pew Research Center shows that Islam is growing faster than any other religion in the world. As of 2010, there were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, which was almost 23 percent of the global population at the time. While Christianity may still be the world’s largest religion, it looks set to lose that distinction to Islam by the turn of the century.
So why exactly is this happening? Why is Islam growing faster than any other religion in the world? The study by the Pew Research Center cites two contributing factors to this. One, it says, is the fact that Muslims choose to have more children than other religious groups. While the other religions of the world combined averaged at 2.3 children per woman, Muslim women around the world average at 3.1 children per woman. Since Islam also prohibits the use of contraception, the larger average compared to the rest of the world, where the use of contraceptives is becoming common practice, can be justified.
Another reason why Islam is the fasted growing religion, according to the study by the Pew Research Center, is because they are the youngest of all major religious groups in the world. While the rest of the major religions combined have a median age of 30-years-old, Muslims around the world have a median age of 23-years-old. As such, many Muslims are at a point in their lives where they’re just starting to have children. Also, Muslims are known to have a high fertility rate. All these factors combined contribute to Islam being the world’s fastest growing religion.
And while this might not affect the global Muslim population, for many parts of the world including North America and Europe, the reason Islam is the fastest growing religion is because of immigration. The Pew Research Center projects that by 2050, 10 percent of Europe’s population will be Muslims. They have also projected that by the same year, 2.1 percent of the U.S. population will be Muslims. As of 2010, 6 percent of Europe’s population and 1 percent of the U.S. population are Muslims.
In light of this, it is also important to consider how the rest of the world perceive Muslims. A 2011 survey studied this by asking the people of Western Countries and the people of Muslim-majority countries their perception of one another. Almost 68 percent of all Muslims surveyed said that they view the people from Western countries as being selfish. 66 percent called Westerners violent, 64 percent called them greedy, and 61 percent called them immoral. Only 44 percent Muslims believed that people of the western countries were respectful of women. 33 percent called Westerners honest, and 31 percent tolerant.
On the other side of the survey, almost 50 percent of people from the Western world, including those from Western Europe, Russia, and the United States, perceived Muslims as being violent, while 58 percent believed they were “fanatical.” Not too many Westerners believed Muslims to be greedy or immoral, with 51 percent calling them honest and another 41 percent calling them generous, but only 22 percent believed Muslims were respectful to women.
While the Middle East and North Africa may have been where Islam originated and first grew, starting in the seventh century, only about 20 percent of the global Muslim population live there. A vast majority of the world’s Muslim population are centered in the Asia-Pacific region, in countries such as Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. As of now, Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population. But the research by the Pew Research Center shows that India will have the world’s largest Muslim population by 2050, with more than 300 million Muslims calling it home, despite it being a Hindu majority country.
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