Many Americans object to allowing more Muslim refugees from Syria and other countries into the U.S. on the grounds that the decision could ultimately lead to a drastic rise in the country’s Muslim population. Research shows that these concerns may be legitimate.
Studies conducted by Pew Research Center show Muslims are the fasting growing religious group in the world and will come close to catching Christianity in number of followers by 2050.
“The number of Muslims will nearly equal the number of Christians around the world,” in 35 years, according to Pew Research Center in a study about the future of world religions. “Muslims will be more numerous in the U.S. than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.”
Pew Research Center predicts that by 2050 Muslims will make up 29.7 percent of the global
population, whereas Muslims made up 23 percent of the global population in 2010.
Another study by Pew from 2011 shows that in 1990, Muslims made up 19.9 percent of the world population.
Pew Research Center points out if current growth trends continue in 2050, “Muslims are the only major religious group projected to increase faster than the world’s population as a whole.”
David Vila, professor of religion and philosophy at John Brown University, has traveled and excavated across the Middle East and studied Islam extensively.
Vila said the main reason for the increase in growth of Islam, based on number of followers
around the world, is due to birthrates. “Conversion to Islam happens even in the West,” Vila said, but “growth is almost entirely birthrates, not conversions.” Most of the growth of Islam is “within populations that are already Muslim.”
Pew Research Center backs this up, saying, “Globally, Muslims have the highest fertility rate, an average of 3.1 children per woman.”
Vila said that in the secular West, “The highest value we hold is freedom.” “Muslims value justice as the highest value.” The difference in these values can be very attractive to some, and this leads to some growth in the West, Vila said.
Predictions made by Pew Research Center are based on trends continuing the way that they are going now. Vila said that one significant factor that could change the course of religious growth is religion in China. An explosive growth of religion in China could greatly change the ratios we are seeing now.
Joshua Dover, junior graphic design major, took the Qur’an class with Robert Moore last semester.
“I think people are looking for a belief system that not only gives them answers, but actions to take based on those perceived truths,” Dover said.
The church has become weak in the eyes of those looking for truth in faith, Dover said, and people are looking to the apparent integrity and strength of Islam as their answer.
“I think people who are turning to Islam are tired of plurality, tired of each person having their personalized view of the universe,” Dover said.