CAIRO - A Muslim study found Wednesday, February 29, that the number of mosques in the United States has jumped over the past decade and that American Muslims are engaged in the society, the USA Today reported."This is a growing, healthy Muslim community that is well integrated into America," lead researcher and study author Ihsan Bagby, an associate professor of Islamic studies at the University of Kentucky, said.
"I think that is the best message we can send to the world and the Muslim world in particular."
The study, titled The American Mosque 2011, found that the number of mosques in the US rose by 74 percent from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010.
Most mosques are located in cities such as New York, which has 257 mosques, California (246), Texas (166) and Florida (118).
Researchers defined a mosque as a Muslim organization that holds Friday congregational prayers, conducts other Islamic activities and has operational control of its building.
Buildings such as hospitals and schools that have space for Friday prayer were not included.
The study, which is based on mailing lists, websites and interviews with community and mosque leaders, also found that the number of mosques in suburbs rose from only 16 percent in 2000 to 28 percent in 2010.
This building boom is indicative of the growing financial resources of the Muslim community as many Muslims have lived in the U.S. for many decades now and their financial resources have improved," wrote Bagby.
The study also found that mosque worshippers are ethnically diverse, with most worshippers are South Asians, Arabs and Afro-Americans.
There was also an increase in the number of Muslim worshippers from West Africa and Somalia.
The study also revealed an increase in the number of Shiite mosques in the US because of an influx of immigrants from Iraq and Iran, though Shiites still represent a very small percentage of the Muslim community in the US.
"Higher numbers mean you are not marginalized," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said.
The inclusive study also showed that American Muslims are largely engaged in the society.
The study finds "98% of mosque leaders say Muslims should be involved in American institutions and 91% agree that Muslims should be involved in politics."
It also found that mosque leaders have a positive view about the life of the Muslim community in the US.
"Mosque leaders feel very positive, more positive than they did in 2000," Bagby said.
The survey found that most mosque leaders (87%) believe that radicalism and extremism are not increasing among young Muslims.
They say the greater challenge is "attracting and keeping them close to the mosque."
The mosque study is part of the Faith Communities Today partnership, which researches the more than 300,000 houses of worship in the US.
The study is sponsored by CAIR, the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, the Islamic Society of North America and Islamic Circle of North America.
Bagby challenged previous estimates of the number of US Muslims, which put them at two to three million.
He says there are 2.6 million "mosque participants", who have attended `Eid prayers or Friday prayers or were considered participants by the mosque leader survey.The study concludes "if there are 2.6 million Muslims who pray the Eid prayer, then the total Muslim population should be closer to estimates (by Bagby) of up to 7 million."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net