News / USA

US Mosques Increase in Number Despite Post-9/11 Suspicions

Worshipers listen to the sermon in the main hall of the Noor Islamic Center in Dublin, Ohio, Aug. 26, 201.
Worshipers listen to the sermon in the main hall of the Noor Islamic Center in Dublin, Ohio, Aug. 26, 201.

A new survey finds that the number of U.S. mosques has grown dramatically in the decade since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, despite protests against their construction and allegations they have promoted radicalism.  

The survey is sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and other groups in conjunction with the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, which tracks church membership and other aspects of religious life in the United States.

The survey's tally of 2,106 mosques marks a 74 percent increase since the year 2000, when
1,209 mosques were counted.  It also found a trend among Muslim congregations toward suburbanization and integration into American life.

"The Muslim community in America is growing, healthy, vibrant, and becoming more and more a part of the American landscape," said Ihsan Bagby, a University of Kentucky Islamic Studies professor, a study co-author.

The mosque count was conducted in 2010 with follow-up interviews extending through 2011.  New

States with the Greatest Number of Mosques

1 New York: 257
2 California: 246
3 Texas: 166
4 Florida: 118
5 Illinois: 109
5 New Jersey: 109
7 Pennsylvania: 99
8 Michigan: 77
9 Georgia: 69
10 Virginia: 62

York had the highest number of mosques, at 257, with California close behind at 246.  But whereas in 2000 the Northeast was the region with the most mosques, the highest number a decade later was in the South.

Bagby said they have even been built in small cities in eastern Kentucky.  "If the mountains of Kentucky can have mosques - and built mosques, built from the ground up - then you'll find mosques everywhere."

He said immigration and natural population growth gave impetus to the increase, along with the growing financial resources of American Muslims.

Two years ago, the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the 2001 attacks in New York triggered a nationwide controversy and allegations that mosques were breeding extremists.

But 56 percent of mosque leaders told the survey that they put forward a flexible approach to the Quran, and to the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, in order to take modern life into account.

And whereas in 2000 more than half of mosque leaders surveyed said they believed that "American society is hostile to Islam," but now, only a quarter do.

"What happened after 9/11 is that it pushed mosques out into the community," Bagby said in an interview.  "And because of that experience - the wonderful experience of interfacing with neighbors and other interfaith groups in the locality - the churches and synagogues - it actually built a residue of sympathy and empathy with other religious people."

The study found that 2.6 million Muslims pray in a mosque for the Eid, a major holiday on the Islamic calendar.  Some Muslim leaders said that figure suggests the total Muslim population in America is around seven million, significantly higher than other estimates.

David Roozen of the Hartford Institute said Islam is probably the fastest growing major religion in the country, but its influence is still limited.

"Islam in the United States, even with its rapid growth, is still probably two to four percent of the population."

Roozen has documented what he calls an "erosion of congregational vitality" in Christian denominations, but says their main concern should not be the growing number of mosques.  He says it should be the 15 percent of non-religious Americans, who are the fastest growing group in major national surveys of all faiths.


Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs