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Comprehensive Survey of US Muslims

AP, Apr. 26, 2001
http://www.nytimes.com/ Off-site Link


STORY NEW YORK (AP) -- American Muslims form a growing and maturing community worshipping in 1,209 mosques from coast to coast, according to the first comprehensive survey of the faith's presence in the United States.

The findings, being released Thursday in Washington, D.C., also indicate that U.S. mosques are less bound by ethnic and racial divisions than in the past and are adapting to American culture, even though leaders express ambivalence about the United States.

There has been disagreement over U.S. Muslim numbers, and little hard research. The new study, led by professor Ihsan Bagby of Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., offers these figures:

--6 million to 7 million is a reasonable estimate for Americans who would consider themselves ethnic Muslims. (That compares with an ethnic count of 6.061 million for U.S. Jews.)

--2 million Muslims are religiously involved to varying degrees with local mosques, for example by attending the two yearly Eids (festivals). That projection was based on a survey of 416 mosque leaders.

--411,000 Muslims nationally attend the Friday Jum'ah prayers in an average week, judging from mosque leaders' reports; 78 percent of those attending are men.

The statistics excluded Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, the Ahmaddiya movement and other groups that mainstream Islam has regarded as heterodox, Bagby said.

The mosque survey was co-sponsored by the Council for American-Islamic Relations (based in Washington, D.C.), Islamic Circle of North America (New York City), Islamic Society of North America (Plainfield, Ind.) and Muslim American Society (Chicago) led by Imam W. Deen Mohammed.

Other highlights from the mosque survey:

--CONVERSIONS: Among the regulars, 29 percent were converts to Islam. Among 19,700 annual converts, an estimated 14,000 were black and 13,000 were men.

--THEOLOGY: 21 percent said their mosques maintain a literal interpretation of the faith drawn directly from the Quran and Sunnah (practices of the Prophet Muhammad); 71 percent said they take into account the purposes of revelations in light of ``modern circumstances.'' The rest followed other Muslim traditions or did not respond.

See Also:
» Studies Suggest Lower Count for Number of U.S. Muslims, New York Times, Oct. 25, 2001
» Muslim count prompts dispute: Scholar, pollster deny 7 million are in U.S., Detroit Free
   Press, Apr. 27, 2001
» The full report is avaialble from the Council on American-Islamic RelationsOff-site Link

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