US Home to 74% More Mosques Since 2000
New census also finds mosque leaders feel comfortable in US
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2012 10:55 AM CST
A man and his 19-month-old daughter pose for photographs outside the mosque at the Silver Spring Muslim Community Center November 6, 2009 in Silver Spring, Maryland.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Even as protests against new mosques got quite a bit of attention, their numbers in the US grew from 1,209 in 2000 to 2,106 in 2010, USA Today reports. And most of the leaders of those Islamic places of worship believe America is not hostile to Islam, according to a census of US mosques and poll of mosque leaders released today. "This is a very healthy community," says the lead researcher and study author. "Mosque leaders feel very positive, more positive than they did in 2000," when a similar survey was taken.

In addition, 87% of mosque leaders reported that, in their experience, "radicalism and extremism" are not increasing among Muslim youth. The study author estimates there are 2.6 million "mosque participants" in the US, and extrapolates from that number that the total Muslim population in the country is "up to 7 million." It's a controversial number, considering no other survey projection has reached even 3 million.