Islam in the United States

Islam is the third largest religion in the United States, after Christianity and Judaism.[1] A 2017 study estimated that 3.45 million Muslims were living in the United States, about 1.1 percent of the total U.S. population.[2]

While an estimated 10 to 20 percent[3][4] of the slaves brought to colonial America from Africa arrived as Muslims,[5][6] Islam was suppressed on plantations.[3] Prior to the late 19th century, the vast majority of documented non-enslaved Muslims in North America were merchants, travelers, and sailors.[5]

From the 1880s to 1914, several thousand Muslims immigrated to the United States from the former territories of the Ottoman Empire and British India.[7] The Muslim population of the U.S. increased dramatically in the second half of the 20th century due to the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished previous immigration quotas.[8] About 72 percent of American Muslims are immigrants or "second generation".[9][10]

In 2005, more people from Muslim-majority countries became legal permanent United States residents—nearly 96,000—than there had been in any other year in the previous two decades.[11][12] In 2009, more than 115,000 Muslims became legal residents of the United States.[13]

American Muslims come from various backgrounds and, according to a 2009 Gallup poll, are one of the most racially diverse religious groups in the United States.[14] According to a 2017 study done by the Institute for Social Policy, “American Muslims are the only faith community surveyed with no majority race, with 26 percent white, 18 percent Asian, 18 percent Arab, 9 percent black, 7 percent mixed race, and 5 percent Hispanic”.[15] Pew estimates 89% of American Muslims are Sunni while 11% are Shi'i.[16] Conversion to Islam in large cities[17] has also contributed to its growth over the years as well as its influence on black culture and hip-hop music.


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