By 2050, Muslims are being predicted to double their share of the population in the United States and even surpass Christianity as the world’s dominant religion by the end of the century.
The forecast is based on a report of Pew Research Center which also predicts that based on demographic trends, the Muslim population will grow by 70 percent worldwide between 2015 and 2060, compared with an overall population growth of 32 percent. Such far exceeds the projected growth of the second-and third- fastest growing religions, Christianity and Hinduism.
The report also came out in the same week that saw two acts of mass murder perpetrated by Muslim extremists- a suicide bombing outside the concert of Ariana Grande in Manchester, England, and a gun attack on a bus filled with Coptic Christians in Egypt.
The projected rise in Muslim population is attributed to simple demographics. Muslims are younger and give birth to more babies compared to Christians and people of other religions.
The Muslim population in the U.S. is still relatively small, counting 3.3 million in 2015 based on Pew estimates. Such translates to only 1 percent of the population, of whom about two-thirds are immigrants. Pew predicts that to grow to 2.1 percent of the population by 2050, overtaking Judaism as the number two religion in America.
Some analysts fear that the growth of Muslim population in Western nations may further aggravate the cultural rift that has resulted in increased terror attacks. They also point to the trend that after reaching about 5 percent of the population, Muslims started demanding that nations codify Sharia law in civil codes.
Clare Lopez, vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, said there’s also the challenge of terrorist watch-lists growing beyond a manageable number. Lopez warned: “The security services just can’t keep up.”
Lopez also reminded that the only reason why terror attacks perpetrated by Muslim extremists in the U.S. have not reached the alarming proportions as that of Europe is that because of the smaller Muslim population in the country.
Lopez said: “We’re no different than Europe. There’s no such thing as assimilation. The only difference between us and Europe is time and numbers.”
The growing Muslim population and terrorism are a cause for worries among citizens of Western nations. Half or more of the population of Spain, Greece, Poland, Italy and Hungary told pollsters that they carry negative views of Islam. Negative views of Islam also ranged from 28 percent to 35 percent even among those considered more tolerant in Western and Northern Europe.
Muslims return the unfavorable view as a survey in 2011 says that majorities in Muslim countries associated Westerners with selfishness, violence, greed, immorality, and arrogance.