Over One-Fifth of American Muslims Leave Islam, Same Rate as American Christians: Study

The image features Muslim women at the Washington National Cathedral. | (Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)

Nearly a quarter of American Muslims leave Islam, which is about the same percentage of American Christians who leave Christianity, according to a recent Pew Research report.

The Pew Resarch Center analyzed its 2014 Religious Landscape report and highlighted that 23 percent of adults who were raised Muslim have left the faith, which is comparable to the 22 percent of American adults raised Christian but no longer identify as such.

While American Muslims appeared to be leaving organized religion at a rate similar to American Christians, Pew noted that "Islam gains about as many converts as it loses."

Meanwhile, Christianity is losing more people than it gains with only 6 percent being Christian converts (compared to 23 percent of converts to Islam).

A 2017 Pew survey also offered similar findings, with 24 percent of those in the U.S. who were raised Muslim saying they left the faith. It also found that 55 percent of them no longer identify with any religion, 22 percent identify as Christian, and 21 percent identify with a wide variety of smaller groups, including faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, or as generally 'spiritual.'"

Of those who left, 22 percent were immigrants from the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose government is controlled by strict Muslim clerical figures. 

When asked why they left Islam, the top answer (25 percent) was that they had issues with religion in general (such as not liking organized religion or not believing in God). Nineteen percent had issues specifically with Islam, with some saying they never really connected with that faith or don't agree with the teachings of Islam.

Still, the American Muslim population has been growing by around 100,000 annually, Pew stated.

"But the fact that the shares of people who enter and leave Islam are roughly equal suggests that conversions to and from the faith are having little impact on the group's overall growth," it noted.

Over the past several years, many have noted the rise of Islam in Western countries, with some attributing their population growth more to birth rate than conversions.

"It is a fact that Islam is growing rapidly in the West. In the U.S. alone the number of Muslims has risen dramatically, from about 10,000 in 1900 to 3 million or more in 1991," noted Arab World Ministries, a contributor to CBN, in a recent post.

"Most of this growth is due to recent immigration and the high birth rate of Muslims (five children per family on average), rather than to conversion. Still, the number of those who convert to Islam is significant."

In a 2017 report, Pew estimated that the global Muslim birth rate will outpace the global Christian birth rate by about 6 million by the years 2055-2060.

"Globally, the relatively young population and high fertility rates of Muslims lead to a projection that between 2030 and 2035, there will be slightly more babies born to Muslims (225 million) than to Christians (224 million), even though the total Christian population will still be larger," stated the report from last year.

"By the 2055 to 2060 period, the birth gap between the two groups is expected to approach 6 million (232 million births among Muslims vs. 226 million births among Christians)."

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