"This study shows that Muslims and mosques are strengthening the American fabric," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose organization cosponsored the study.
Awad said that mosques "are not only centers for spirituality, they are now bases for political and social mobilization."
The nationwide survey of 416 randomly selected mosque leaders found that 77 percent said mosque participation had grown within the past five years, and 61 percent placed that increase at 10 percent or more, according to lead researcher Ihsan Bagby, a professor at historically black Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The mosques surveyed were also fairly new, with 30 percent established in the last decade and 32 percent established in the 1980s. "The last three decades have been the decades of mosque-building," Bagby said. "A full 80 percent of all the mosques were started since 1970."
Most mosques are situated in the Northeast and in urban areas, Bagby said. "Mosques, for the most part, are an urban phenomenon," he said, estimating that 6 million to 7 million Muslims live in the United States.
Samuel Naaman, director of the evangelical South Asian Friendship Center in Chicago, told Christianity Today that most Muslim growth in America comes via immigration and the conversion of African-American men. Naaman, however, said there is not enough ministry geared to Muslims.
"When I hear those numbers [of Muslim immigrants], I praise God," said Naaman, a native of Pakistan. "We need to be grateful and thankful that God is bringing these people. This is the best country where ...1