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Learn about Muslims and Islam through four short lessons delivered to your inbox every other day. up now! Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State also known as ISIS or ISIL and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans — who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population — have said they know little or nothing about Islam.
Here are answers to some key questions about Muslims, compiled from several Pew Research Center reports published in recent years:. There were 1. Indeed, if current demographic trends continue, the of Muslims is expected to exceed the of Christians by the end of this century. According to our estimate , there are about 3. This is based on an analysis of census statistics and data from a survey of U. Muslims , which was conducted in English as well as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. Based on the same analysis, Pew Research Center also estimates that there are 2.
Our demographic projections estimate that Muslims will make up 2. There are two major factors behind the rapid projected growth of Islam, and both involve simple demographics. For one, Muslims have more children than members of other religious groups. Around the world, each Muslim woman has an average of 2. Muslims are also the youngest median age of 24 years old in of all major religious groups, seven years younger than the median age of non-Muslims.
As a result, a larger share of Muslims already are, or will soon be, at the point in their lives when they begin having children. This, combined with high fertility rates, will fuel Muslim population growth. While it does not change the global population, migration is helping to increase the Muslim population in some regions, including North America and Europe.
Overall, Americans gave Muslims an average rating of 48 degrees, similar to atheists Americans view more warmly the seven other religious groups mentioned in the survey Jews, Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons. But views toward Muslims as well as several of the other groups are now warmer than they were a few years ago; in , U. This partisan gap extends to several other questions about Muslims and Islam. Views on this question have become much more partisan in the last 14 years see graphic. But most Americans do not see widespread support for extremism among Muslims living in the U.
In spring , we asked residents of 10 European counties for their impression of how many Muslims in their country support extremist groups, such as ISIS. The same survey asked Europeans whether they viewed Muslims favorably or unfavorably. Perceptions varied across European nations: Majorities in Hungary, Italy, Poland and Greece say they view Muslims unfavorably, while negative attitudes toward Muslims are much less common in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Northern and Western Europe.
People who place themselves on the right side of the ideological scale are much more likely than those on the left to see Muslims negatively. What characteristics do people in the Muslim world and people in the West associate with each other?
A survey asked about characteristics Westerners and Muslims may associate with one another. Like any religious group, the religious beliefs and practices of Muslims vary depending on many factors, including where in the world they live. But Muslims around the world are almost universally united by a belief in one God and the Prophet Muhammad, and the practice of certain religious rituals, such as fasting during Ramadan , is widespread.
In other areas, however, there is less unity. For instance, a Pew Research Center survey of Muslims in 39 countries asked Muslims whether they want sharia law, a legal code based on the Quran and other Islamic scripture, to be the official law of the land in their country.
Responses on this question vary widely. Relatively small shares say they see ISIS favorably. The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram, which has been conducting a terrorist campaign in the country for years, has sworn allegiance to ISIS. In many cases, people in countries with large Muslim populations are as concerned as Western nations about the threat of Islamic extremism, and have become increasingly concerned in recent years.
Our survey of U. Muslims finds that Muslims in the United States perceive a lot of discrimination against their religious group. Moreover, a solid majority of U. Muslims are leery of President Donald Trump and think their fellow Americans do not see Islam as part of mainstream U. At the same time, however, Muslim Americans overwhelmingly say they are proud to be Americans, believe that hard work generally brings success in this country and are satisfied with the way things are going in their own lives.
Half of Muslim Americans say it has become harder to be Muslim in the U. Living in a religiously pluralistic society, Muslim Americans are more likely than Muslims in many other largely Muslim-majority nations to have a lot of non-Muslim friends. Roughly two-thirds of U. By some of these traditional measures, Muslims in the U. Christians, although they are less religious than Muslims in many other nations. And about half of U.
Sunnis and Shiites are two subgroups of Muslims, just as Catholics and Protestants are two subgroups within Christianity. The Sunni-Shiite divide is nearly 1, years old, dating back to a dispute over the succession of leadership in the Muslim community following the death of the Prophet Muhammad in While the two groups agree on some core tenets of Islam, there are differences in beliefs and practices , and in some cases Sunnis do not consider Shiites to be Muslims.
With the exception of a few countries, including Iran which is majority Shiite as well as Iraq and Lebanon which are split , most nations with a large of Muslims have more Sunnis than Shiites. In the U. Note: This post was updated on Aug. It was originally published Dec. Correction: U. In many ways, Muslim men and women see life in America differently. Muslims are religiously observant, but open to multiple interpretations of Islam. Pew Research Center now uses as the last birth year for Millennials in our work. President Michael Dimock explains why. Indians see religious tolerance as a central part of who they are as a nation.
About half of U. The U. Black population is growing. At the same time, how Black people self-identify is changing, with increasing shares considering themselves multiracial or Hispanic. It looks at how new voters and voters who turned out in either , or both voted in the presidential election, and offers a detailed portrait of the demographic composition of the electorate.
About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Newsletters Donate My . Research Topics. Share this link:. Michael Lipka is an editorial manager of religion research at Pew Research Center.
New estimates show U. Muslim population continues to grow. Want to know more about Muslims and Islam? Defining generations: Where Millennials end and Generation Z begins. Are you in the American middle class? Find out with our income calculator. Follow Us.Islam is a religion of
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Islam Is a Religion of Violence