Image above: Ibn Tulan Mosque
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — The religious landscape in the United States is changing.
Islam is now among the fastest growing religions in America and it has led to a construction boom of mosques.
Mosques are not as ubiquitous as Starbucks or Mcdonald’s but they are now sewn into America’s landscape.
Religion expert Dan Cox says surveys show few Americans, three out of ten have met a person of the muslim faith.
“That represents something new and I think for some people, represents a threat,” he said.
Construction of mosques is soaring, especially in America’s suburbs. The number has more than doubled since 2000, up from about 1200 houses of Islamic worship to an estimated 2600 today.
The census bureau does not ask questions about religion. We can’t say if the number of mosques is growing faster than the muslim population.
According to a rough estimate from Scott Thumma with the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there’s one mosque for every 1,562 Muslims as compared to about one Christian church for every 524 christians, but again these are rough numbers.
Counterterrorism expert Kyle Shideler says some mosques in America are connected by financial ties or influence to groups like the Muslim brotherhood, which the State Department does not list as a terrorist organization.
“I become concerned when we are looking at large mosques that are raised with money coming from overseas and typically you see that with the large mosques,” Shideler said.
Rabbi Jonah Pesner sees mosques as a deterrent to terrorism.”They are Americans and they are seeking a better life for their families just like you and I.”
Muslims are held in a favorable view by the majority of Americans according to a Sadat Chair poll taken in late 2015. But at the same time, the majority of American’s 61 percent to 37 percent hold an unfavorable view of Islam.
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