NEW DELHI: Because they have the youngest median age (30) of all religious groups, Muslims are the fastest-growing such group in the world, and by 2050, India will be the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, said American think tank Pew Research Centre, this week.
While Islam is currently the world’s second-largest religion after Christianity, it is now also the fastest-growing major religion. And if current demographic trends continue, the Muslim population is expected to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century, Pew said.
There were 1.6 billion Muslims in the world as of 2010 – roughly 23% of the global population – according to a Pew estimate. Currently, Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population.
In a 2015 report, Pew said that while the world’s population is projected to grow 35 percent in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 73 percent -to 2.8 billion in 2050. In fact, Muslims are the only major religious group projected to increase faster than the world’s population as a whole, the think tank said.
“The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries,” the think tank’s report said.
“Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam,” the report added.
At 62 percent, a majority of the Muslims globally live in the Asia-Pacific region. This included large populations in Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey, Pew said. Indonesia is currently the country with the world’s largest Muslim population, but Pew Research Center projects that India will have that distinction by the year 2050, with more than 300 million Muslims.