The number of Islamic mosques in the United States has grown sharply, by about 75 percent, in the last decade according to a study by a number of Muslim groups and the University of Kentucky.
The research indicated that there are now 2,106 Islamic centers in the United States, compared with 1,209 and 2000 and 962 in 1994. A significant amount of growth came in the period between 2000 and 2011, as Muslim Americans were under intense scrutiny by government officials in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
Ihsan Bagby, the professor at the University of Kentucky who was the chief author of the study, said the information demonstrated that Muslims are carving out a place for themselves despite the backlash in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001.
“This is a growing, healthy Muslim community that is well integrated into America,” Bagby said. “I think that is the best message we can send to the world and the Muslim world in particular.”
The report is called “The American Mosque 2011” and includes a roster of mosques that was based on sifting through mailing lists, websites and interviews with community leaders. It also included interviews with more than 500 leaders of mosques throughout the country.
The research was compiled by a combination of groups, including the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, the Islamic Circle of North America and the International Institute of Islamic Thought.
For the purpose of collecting information, the researchers defined a mosque as a Muslim organization that holds Friday congregational prayers called jumah, conducts other Islamic activities and has operational control of its building.
It did not include buildings such as hospitals and schools that may have space for Friday prayer. Additionally, the report said, chapters of the Muslim Student Association at colleges and universities were included only if they used space off-campus or had oversight of the building where prayer was held.
The study pointed to a number of trends in the ethnic composition of the worshippers at the mosques. South Asians account for about one-third of participants, while Arabs and African-Americans are about one-quarter each.
Bagby said he discovered a slight increase in the percentage of Muslims from West Africa and Somalia. An influx of Iraqi and Iranian refugees is behind a jump in the number of Shiite mosques since the 1990s. Shiites still represent a very small percentage of the American Muslim population.
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