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Islam Most Popular Among Chinese Youth: Survey

Thursday, July 9, 2015

CAIRO – Reflecting the rapid growth of the world’s second largest religion, a recent survey found that Islam has the largest number followers among Chinese under the age of 30, surpassing Buddhism and Catholicism in the Asian country.

"Islam tends to have a younger demographic,” Wei Dedong, a professor of Buddhist studies at the School of Philosophy at Renmin University of China, who participated in the research, told the Global Times on Tuesday, July 6.

“Most believers of Islam belong to ethnic minority groups and it is common for a woman to give birth to several children.

“The children would also become Muslims while it is very rare to have an adult converting to Islam,"

According to China Religion Survey 2015, Islam has the highest number of young believers, with 22.4% of them aged below 30.

Islam is followed by Catholicism which is followed by 22% of Chinese youth.

On the other hand, more than half of Chinese over 60 follow Buddhism and Taoism.

Released by the National Survey Research Center (NSRC) at Renmin University of China, the survey is based on interviews from 4,382 religious sites across 31 regions gathered between 2013 and 2015.

The survey also found that the State Administration for Religious Affairs visited places of worship 3.8 times a year and the United Front Work Department (UFWD) visit the sites 1.8 times a year.

Researchers believe that government agencies visits to religious sites are aimed at strengthening ties between the government and religious groups.

"In some counties, there are only two to three religion management personnel while nobody may be in charge in small towns," Wang Meixiu, a research fellow at the Institute of World Religion Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said.

A few months ago, a new study found that the number of Muslims is expected to surpass that of Christians by 1% after 2070.

According to the study, the Muslims will nearly equal Christians at mid-century, with a 30% increase in the followers of Islam.

Both Islam and Christianity, the world' largest religious groups, will make more than 69% of the global population in 2100, rising from 61% in 2050 and 55% in 2010, according to the research.


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