The New York Times
By Gustav Niebuhr
Estimate of 6-7 million Muslims at least equals nation's number of Jews.
April 27, 2001
In an indication of the growing religious organization and visibility of
the nation's Muslims, the number of mosques in the United States increased
by about 25 percent in six years, to more than 1,200, a study sponsored by
four American Islamic organizations has found.
The findings of the Mosque Study Project 2000, whose report is titled "The
Mosque in America: A National Portrait," were released Thursday, published
by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit advocacy
organization. A similar study in 1994 found 964 mosques in the country.
Recent estimates of the number of Muslims in the United States have varied
widely. The new study estimated the total at 6 million to 7 million,
arriving at those numbers through calculations based on the average number
of Muslims with whom mosques reported some connection.
If that estimate is correct, then the American Muslim population at least
equals the commonly accepted figure of 6 million Jews in the United States.
But John Esposito, director of the Center for Muslim- Christian
Understanding at Georgetown University, said that until more data are
collected, he would estimate the Muslim population to be somewhat lower.
"It's reasonable to talk about 4 to 6 million," Esposito said. But "it's
going to be pushing up," he added, citing both continuing immigration and
the relatively large size of many Muslim families.
"If it's not the case now," he said, "then within a matter of decades
Islam will be the second-largest religion in America."
The study also found that a large majority of mosques were situated in
cities and suburbs, that attendance was overwhelmingly male, and that
worshippers were ethnically diverse: one-third are South Asian, 30 percent
are black, 25 percent are Arab.
It also said nearly all mosques used English as the main language, or one
of the main languages, for sermons at Friday prayers.
Twenty percent of mosques have Islamic schools of full-time general study
for children and 70 percent provide charitable assistance for the poor,
the study reported.
Local Islamic leaders estimate that there are 150,000 Muslims living in
Orange County, predominantly recent immigrants from Pakistan, India and
What will be the largest mosque in North America, built by the Islamic
Society of Orange County, is scheduled to open this spring in Garden Grove.
Research for the study was supported by the council and three other
organizations: the Islamic Society of North America, the ministry of Imam
W. Deen Mohammed and the Islamic Circle of North America.
It was conducted in conjunction with a larger study of religion in the
United States, organized by Hartford Seminary's Institute for Religious
Twenty-six religious groups are participating in the study, each having
conducted research among its members drawing on a common set of questions.
To estimate the number of mosques, the researchers used different lists of
Muslim houses of worship around the nation, eliminated duplicates and
confirmed the existence of individual mosques by telephone, said one
participant, Ihsan Bagby, chairman of the department of international
relations at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C.
Register staff writer John Gittelsohn contributed to this report.
The Islamic republic regime finances most Islamic associations in the US.
A major part of the "ALAVI Foundation" (based in New York) funds are
allocated to this policy.
In addition, several Islamic associations websites are managed by the
webmaster of the Interest Section of the Islamic republic in Washington DC
and by a regime's affiliated company named "NOOR".