Are Arabs Leaving Islam? Or is Islam Still The Fastest Growing Religion?

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Headlines from Jerusalem, 05 July 2019

“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2:10-11

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Friday Feature – Are Arabs Leaving Islam? Or Islam still the fastest growing religion?
By: David Parsons- ICEJ Vice President & Senior Spokesman

It was an eye-catching headline!“Arab world turning its back on religion,” claimed the title of an article last week in The Guardian. Very interesting and certainly worth a closer look.

It turns out that in a recent BBC News Arabic survey of 25,000 people across ten Middle East countries and the Palestinian territories, trust in religious leaders is plummeting, including in radical Islamist movements such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, there is a discernible rise in the proportion of people describing themselves as “not religious” – from 11% in 2012-2014 to 18% this year.

Now this is welcome news, especially for Christians who stand with Israel and view Islamic ideologies as a major impediment to peace and normalcy in the region. And the figures do seem credible, as the growing number of young Arabs who identify as “non-religious” mirrors the secularization trend among millennials in the traditionally Christian West. While a seven percent increase over the past half-decade might not seem that large, in context we are dealing here with those living in the heart of the Muslim world, where custom has long held that leaving the Islamic faith is a sin punishable by death. So the real number of Arab-Muslim apostates is likely even higher.

Yet several reputable polling firms (Pew Research Center, Barna Group) have been gauging the long-term trends worldwide, and they are forecasting that the secular, non-religious segments of societies worldwide will actually lose ground to the religious camps over coming decades, and that Islam will remain the fastest growing religion in the world. This is largely due to the higher birth rates among families that belong to the world’s major religions – most notably Christianity, Islam and Hinduism – as well as a projected increase in conversions to Islam.

So what are we to make of all this? Are there a significant number of Muslims in Arab nations who are leaving Islam? Or is Islam still the world’s fastest growing religion and destined to be the dominant faith of the future?

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Today’s news was written and compiled by Lily Sironi.

ICEJ News is a free email service providing news and comments on Middle East affairs compiled by journalists at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and supported by donations from subscribers.

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