By Tariq Nelson
Honestly, I’ve always thought that the Muslim population estimation given by Muslim organizations seemed to be bit inflated (especially in smaller areas). They usually come up with the number by multiplying by three the number of people or families that attend a mosque because they say that two thirds are not religious. So if there are 100,000 Muslims in a city at the Eid, they will multiply that by three and come up with 300,000.
Here are some estimates for the cities with the largest populations:
New York-NJ area: about 800,000
Los Angeles area: about 500,000
DC-Baltimore area: about 400,000
Chicagoland about 300,000
Detroit area about 300,000 (some estimate about 3% of Detroit’s metro population is Muslim)
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington area about 200,000 (according to some, 85% of that is African-American)
Just those 5 metro areas – according to those estimates – would give you around 2.5 million Muslims in the US and if you ask the average person if there – Muslim or non-Muslim – about those numbers, they would probably not dispute it because there are a lot of Muslims in those areas with a significant and visible presence.
Then the next tier of cities:
– Dallas-Ft Worth, Houston, Atlanta, San Diego, the Bay Area, and Seattle which all claim to have around 100,000 Muslims
These cities have pretty large Muslim populations, but most would be a little surprised at that large a number.
– St Louis and the Miami/South Florida areas claim to have around 70,000 Muslims
– Columbus, Memphis, Cincinnati, Nashville all claim to have around 20,000-25,000 Muslims
I can tell you that the average person in a place like Memphis would be shocked to see an estimate of 25,000 Muslims in their city and the first question that would come to their mind is: “Where are they??” and they just simply would not believe it. As a Muslim I asked the same thing about the number given for Memphis as a person can easily drive from one side of the city to the other everyday for weeks and not see a single practicing Muslim except at the masjid.
Memphis usually gets an Eid crowd of about 2,500 – 3,000 Muslims including all men, women and children. Even if you quadrupled that number, you still only get around 10,000-12,000 or so. I just don’t know how or where the number 25,000 came from by any stretch.
My point is that the numbers of Muslim in the smaller cities may be even more inflated which may skew the numbers nationwide.
We report this – and the unprovable ‘Islam is the fastest growing religion’ mantra – as if it is an article of Iman. Anyone who questions it, then his Iman is questioned.
Even if Islam is shrinking in size, this has no bearing on whether or not Islam is the truth. Even if there are only 1 million Muslim in the US this has no bearing on us.
So why the need to inflate numbers?