Religion has become increasingly popular among China’s younger generation, with Islam being the most popular among those under the age of 30, according to a report released Tuesday.
Despite being ruled by an atheist Communist party, China recognises five religions; Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam.
Islam has the largest number of young followers; nearly 22.4% of those interviewed at the Beijing’s Renmin University’s National Survey Research Center. With 22%, Catholicism is the second most practiced religion among the under-30.
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"Islam tends to have a younger demographic,” Wei Dedong, a professor of Buddhist studies at the School of Philosophy at Renmin who had a hand in the research, told the state-run Global Times. “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.”
While Taoism and Buddhism are still popular among elderly religion followers, Buddhism is the most practiced of all religions according to the survey.
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The research indicated that the government has been taking a keen interest in maintaining relations with religious communities, with places of worship being visited periodically by the Chinese administration for religious affairs. Wei suggests that it is a sign that the governments want to see growth of religion in China. However, restriction imposed on religious practices recently hinder the objective.
Limits were imposed on Ramazan practices recently in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang; which prohibited children, government employees and teachers form fasting during Ramazan.
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Moreover a PEW research suggest that by 2050 Muslims will be nearly as many as Christians who are said to be the world’s largest religious community; 31.4 per cent of the World population.
Muslims living in Africa and the Middles East which represent a third of the world’s Muslim population are expected to have the biggest population increases in years to come.
Not only that, India’s Muslim populace is growing at a faster rate than the country’s Hindu population and by 2050 is expected to rise from 14.4 per cent to 18.4 per cent of India’s population.
The article originally appeared on IBTIMES