The Fastest-Growing Delusion

The baptism of Jesus Christ“Islam is the world’s fastest-growing religion.”

How many times have you heard that? A lot, right?

It’s the conventional wisdom. It’s in CAIR’s talking points. It’s one of the arguments marshalled for the understanding and acceptance of Islam.

The message is that Islam is so appealing that people everywhere are turning to it in droves. The subtext is that those people are easily offended and prone to violence, so we’d better embrace them with good will and the proper subservient attitude.

But Islam may not be growing as fast as you think. In fact, according to Al-Jazeerah, it may even be shrinking, at least in Africa.

“My dear Baron,” you say, “why are you, of all people, citing Al-Jazeerah as an authority?”

Well… It’s kind of like hearing Pat Buchanan speak out on the necessity of supporting Israel, or reading a press release from Cynthia McKinney opposing affirmative action. It makes you sit up and take notice.

A contributor to a site called “Ex-Muslims” has translated an Al-Jazeerah story from back in 2000. It is an interview with Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani about the number of Muslims in Africa.

The interviewer, Maher Abdallah, says:

Our topic this evening will be Christianization in the Dark Continent … Africa. For after Islam was the religion of the majority, the great majority of that continent, the number of Muslims now is no greater than a third of the population. This is taking into consideration, of course, that a large portion of this group are Arab Muslims. No doubt that the missions of evangelization and Christianization played a great role in this demographic shift of Muslims in the continent.

Later on, during the interview, Sheikh Ahmad Al Katani says:

…As we said in the beginning, everyone has the right to invite others to his religion; this is what is known as evangelism (or proselytizing). As for Christianization, no one has the right to take Muslims out of their religion, and you asked for references and the references are too numerous.

Islam used to represent, as you previously mentioned, Africa’s main religion and there were 30 African languages that used to be written in Arabic script. The number of Muslims in Africa has diminished to 316 million, half of whom are Arabs in North Africa. So in the section of Africa that we are talking about, the non Arab section, the number of Muslims does not exceed 150 million people. When we realize that the entire population of Africa is one billion people, we see that the number of Muslims has diminished greatly from what it was in the beginning of the last century. On the other hand, the number of Catholics has increased from one million in 1902 to 329 million 882 thousand (329,882,000). Let us round off that number to 330 million in the year 2000.

As to how that happened, well there are now 1.5 million churches whose congregations account for 46 million people. In every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity. Everyday, 16,000 Muslims convert to Christianity. Ever year, 6 million Muslims convert to Christianity. These numbers are very large indeed… [emphasis added]

Even assuming that the sheikh is exaggerating, there seems to be quite a movement from Islam towards Christianity in Africa. Maybe one reason is that you’re less likely to have your your limbs amputated, or to be stoned or beheaded, in a Christian society.

Many of the Islamic cultural groups in Africa and elsewhere were converted from Christianity or Hinduism at the point of a sword. Are they simply reverting to their former ways, once given the chance?

Muslims may be out-breeding the rest of us. But, in other respects, it seems that the “fastest-growing religion” patter is a scam.

Hat tip: Eurabia, a Dutch counter-jihad blog. A fair portion of the site is in English; it’s worth a visit.

34 thoughts on “The Fastest-Growing Delusion

  1. You pre-empted me again Baron!

    Damn you, sirrah!

    But yes, I was reading the same stuff just hours ago. Interesting reading. Let us hope the trend creeps further.

  2. I would expect the behavior of Arab muslims to black Africans in Sudan (whether Muslim as in Darfur or Christian/animist as in southern Sudan) must be a big influence on Africans converting to Christianity. Here is an interesting interview with the Coptic priest Zakariya Boutrus in the spread of Islam – particularly in Africa. He nails it.

    Coptic priest Zakariya Boutrus

  3. Baron:

    I wrote a longish post in English. I take a more theological perspective for the growing Christianizations of Africa. Here’s a summary of my main points
    1) Islam’s doctrine are so oversimplified that it doesn’t (or can’t) require a sophisticated apologetics or deep theology that wrestles with each issue that the doctrine brings up. Indeed if Islamic doctrine is so simple than how come the Africam Moslems get it wrong? How come despite Christanity’s ‘contradictions’ and complexity, 6 million African Moslems convert? Consequently, Islamic apologetics is shallower than Christian apologetics because the former can’t articulate its reasonableness without resorting to the gun, bomb and Omar’s pact

    2) The emphasis on mosque building rather than creating a community of worshippers (strikes me as modern day pharaiseeism- as long as you fulfill the law, you’re ‘pious’ no matter how depraved you are in reality)
    3) The discouragement of non Arab contributors to Islamic theology and culture and the stinginess to provide charity to non Arab Moslem lands.
    4) the bizarrelandia conspiracy ideas that come across as invincible ignorance and refusal to study events with an open mind
    5) The abysmal ignorance of Christanity’s basic tenants by a proported Islamic expert (no mixed marriages between Orthodox/Catholics and Protestants??)
    6) The curious insistence to distinguish between Christianization qua sociological phenomeon and Christanity qua religion

    In any case, I found the interview to be very enlightening because it provide so much insight as to the true state of Islamic missionary work as well as the religion’s health.

    P.S. So Rwanda may become Catholic once again.


  4. Well Xavier, that’s interesting.
    Only a few years ago, I read that Islam had been making great inroads in Rwanda–especially among genocide survivors–due to the “heroic” behavior of many Muslims during the genocide.

    Came across mention of that in a response by Philip Jenkins to some letters discussing his October 2002 Atlantic Monthly piece “The Next Christianity. Said something about “thousands” converting to Islam. (Sorry, The Atlantic Monthly’s “Letters” pages are no longer freely available online, so can’t provide a link, but I think it was either December 2002 or January 2003).

    Also found mention of this in both a Washington Post article (from 2003, I think) and in this issue of the journal “Fellowship” (journal of the Fellowship of Reconciliation):

    “Why Do They Hate Us?”

    by Mary King–July/August 2003

    In an ironic twist, it is Muslim leaders and families who are being honored in Rwanda for protecting and hiding those who were fleeing. “I know people in America think Muslims are terrorists, but for Rwandans they were our freedom fighters during the genocide,” a thirty-seven-year-old Tutsi told the Washington Post. He had converted to Islam from Catholicism after his father and nine other members of his family were slaughtered. “I wanted to hide in a church, but that was the worst place to go. Instead, a Muslim family took me. They saved my life.”

    I haven’t kept up with this story, and I suppose a lot can change in 4 years.

    Xavier, do you know any more?
    How true is the story about heroic Muslim Rwandans? And if true, is the impact of this heroism still being felt today? (As a Catholic, I remember feeling deeply ashamed when I first read that quote above [and I still do]).

  5. Maybe one reason Islam is not growing so fast is that Muslims keep killing each other. There was the million or so in the Iran/Iraq conflict, but look at Iraq today. Most of the victims of terrorism are Muslim.

    And in Sudan of course maybe 300,000 Muslims were killed, by other Muslims.

    Here is Kristof two weeks ago:

    “For more than two years now, I’ve been holding President Bush’s feet to the fire over his refusal to make the Darfur genocide a priority for his administration. But Mr. Bush has taken half-steps in the right direction ” including pushing President Hu to cooperate on Darfur ” and that’s more than can be said of the leaders of most other countries. Europe has snored through this genocide. Then there’s the Arab League, which met last month in Sudan, in effect legitimizing the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Muslims (almost all the victims in Darfur are Muslim).

    As Fatema Abdul Rasul wrote in The Daily Star of Lebanon this month: “For the entire Muslim and Arab world to remain silent when thousands of people in Darfur continue to be killed is shameful and hypocritical.” Do you hear that, Hosni?

    And where’s the Arab press? Isn’t the murder of 300,000 or more Muslims almost as offensive as a Danish cartoon?”

    I hestitate to think about what would happen to the world Muslim population with a nuclear Iran.

  6. How many secret Christians are living in Islamic countries? I suspect that the stats are even higher than indicated here.

    Unfortunately, many in Latin America are converting to Islam. I’ve heard that mosques are popping up in the jungles of South America. Not a good sign!

  7. Maybe one reason is that you’re less likely to have your your limbs amputated, or to be stoned or beheaded, in a Christian society.

    Yeah, just bombed with impunity, lied to, conned, cheated, ripped off, swindled, polluted, ethnically cleansed and nuked…amongst other abominations…

  8. But can you verify these numbers? You wouldn’t accept the words of an Islamic preacher if he was preaching something pro-Islam without analysing the figures, so why do it when it saying something detrimental to the growth of Islam? Don’t get me wrong, I really hope it is true, but the words of one man from 6 years ago in one interview, where the figures have not been verified by any reputable organisation does not give me much hope. If this really is happening, I want to see proper proof, not a translated Al-Jazeera article from 6 years ago. This really is grasping at straws.

  9. Squirrelsbadhairday:
    That’s preciscely the problem that no on can actually verify the real numbers. As we saw with Abdul Rahman, the Moslems freak out and kill converts. So we’ll never really know for sure. Nevertheless, the fact that we can read the panic suggests that all isn’t going well. Even in France there are a large number of Moslem converts- mostly women- I don’t remember the figure but le Figaro published an estimate some time ago.
    Bottomline is that Islam’s missionary effort is not going well where it counts.
    One lst point during the Radman affair, many Afgans quietly asked for more information about Christainity. Many were moved and amazed by Rahamn’s sereneity in the face of foaming mouth slanders

    Always on watch:
    Actualy Pentacostalism is making much more penetration than Islam. Honestly as a Catholic I’m much more concerned with them than I am with the Moslems.

    Nope I don’t have any new info but do take into account that Saudi money is pouring into Rwanda. So we mustn’t exclude external help to Islamize Rwanda. I regard this as a catastrophe and would like to see the Catholic missionaries head back and reevangelize the population. It won’t be easy but nor can the church write Rwanda off

    In summary, while we should take the interview with a grain of salt; it also puts into perspective the realities the Moslem missionaries face in Africa. The spread of Islam isn’t inevitable. Westerners can pretty much figure out what’s wrong but not the Moslems

  10. xavier–

    So only Catholics count and you find Christian pentecostals more worrying than islamic terrorism??

    Come on, pentecostals may not be to your denominational liking –too much kerygma and enthusiasm and not enough liturgy or what?– but why denigrate them?

    You sound like Sister St. Agnes when you say things like that…umm, how would Lutherans be? Are they acceptable? Good Lord, given the pederasty currently rampant in the Church, and given the Marxist tendencies of people like the Maryknolls, I’ll take a good ol’ Holy Roller toiling away anytime. Statistically, the kids are safer.

    If you want to see “Catholic missionaries return” I suggest you join them so as to ensure the safety of the natives from those Holy Rollers AND the pederasts.

    Catholicism could use a little more “enthusiasm” (which means “to be filled with God,” so maybe the P.’s are on the right track).

  11. sonambulist–

    Lynched, too! Don’t forget lynched. And not invited to the White House, there’s another. And economic slavery…Lord, man, you sure have a short list there.

    BTW, I notice you’re much better behaved — for the most part — at Wretchard’s comments than you are here. You must be one of those people who are reactive to their environment; some people are.

    Happy Sabbath to you, sir.

  12. squirrelsbadhairday —

    My interest was less in how accurate the figures are (I’m sure they’re not very accurate), but in the fact that Al-Jazeerah was touting them.

    My intuition says that the Arab Islamic establishment is trying to drum up hysteria among Muslims over the issue, so as to generate more zeal (and money) for jihad and thereby push the infidel back.

    But one assumes there must be some convesion to Christianity going on to generate the concern in the first place.

  13. Even given the traditional schisms between the roman and protestant branches of christianity, I can’t see how you can sya that pentecostals are more dangerous than islam. Frankly that sounds like you’re letting your personal prejudices get in the way of your judgement.

    Now I don’t know if I’m classified as a pentecostal, evangelical, episcopal or what. I’m a Christian first and foremost. This denominational crap is what’s kept us weak for so many years as a group, and to focus on the “danger” of one denomination just when we’re facing perhaps the biggest threat to our existence since Nero… well.

    If you don’t get my point; pentecostalism stands on the same foundation as your catholicism. We are all the same house and in the words of someone you might be familiar with, a house divided against itself cannot stand. Get your eyes on the real problem and keep them there.

  14. I’m certain than thousands are “voluntarily” converting to Islam right now in Sudan, following the onslaught of the mujahid government.

    So don’t lose your hearts, muslim soldiers, onward you go!

    Gosh, it’s hard to joke about these matters, it leaves a bad mouth taste.

  15. Dympha:
    I regard ismalojihdiasm as our most mortal threat and all Christians need to band together to defeat it utterly. And Christians also need to reach out to others like the Zoastarian, Ba’hi Buddists, Hinuds because they’re under even more peril since Islam has even a haughtier disadian of them.
    With respect to Pentacostalists, what bugs me is how they come to places like Iraq and blitehly assume that the Iraqi Christians are ‘pagans’ who haven’t heard the Gospel. They who most likely heard the Apostles preach. It’s similar with Latin America.
    I don’t denigrate the Pentacostalists- I admire their fervour and comittment.
    I’m sort of doing missionary work via my blog.

    Archonix :
    I concour but the Christian divisions are a scandal since we contravene against Jesus’ own words to be as one. Whatever prejudices I have, I’ll stand by with all my brothers to defeat islamojihadism which threatens another long night of barbarism.

    To get back to the subject at at hand:
    What can non-Moslems do with respect to Africa that would freeze Islamic missionary work? Everywhere they go, they always bring with them disruption, violence and a dulling of life.


  16. Systemtic destruction of Arabic culture and peoples will only lead you back to exactly where you came from without Arabic culutre: the Middle Ages.

    That’s exactly where you are all headed…and deservedly so.

  17. Dr Zaius:
    The Middle ages weren’t the garbage dump of history that historians so casually assert. the 20th century was far bloodier and uglier than medival period
    I’m not calling for the destruction of the Arabs but the defeat of a fantical dealth cult that masquerades as a religion.

    No one here advocated extermination just utter defeat of an ideology


  18. I’m not calling for the destruction of the Arabs but the defeat of a fantical dealth cult that masquerades as a religion.

    So am I.

    No one here advocated extermination just utter defeat of an ideology

    Tell that to Mr. Ledeen. Blather on all you want. I’m looking at the facts on the ground, Sir. Not the rhetoric. The facade is crumbling and the Futurist death mask underneath is rearing its ugly head.

  19. There was an article about this a year or two back that also pointed out that Christianity was the fastest growing religion in the world but I can’t quite recall where it was. It is not just Africa, there are many evangelicals in South Korea and the old missionary movement in China continues, often underground. In fact, I ran into an old China missionary in Xian in 1989 who had also been there during the Xi’an Incident in 1936. He spoke of the Chinese martyrs in much the same way he might have spoken of the early Christian martyrs. Interesting.

    PS, Why does anyone bother responding to Dr. Xaius? Really, reasoning with defectives is a waste of time and bandwidth.

  20. I wouldn’t trust those statistics about conversions from Islam to Christianity.

    Those numbers were meant for Muslim consumption, intended for scaring Muslims into supporting Islamization efforts in sub-Saharan Africa.

    It is true that Christianity grew in Africa from some 10 in 1900 to nearly 360 million by 2000 — or so I recall from reading Jenkins Next Christendom.

    But most of those Christians came from population growth or from non-Muslim, traditional African religions.

    And Islam was growing at the same time, for the same reasons.

    There are, in Africa, some converts from Islam to Christianity, just as there are some from Christianity to Islam.

    I suspect that more convert from Islam, but does anybody really have accurate statistics about Africa?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  21. Dr. Zaius:
    As you’ve been told, we don’t want to “destruct Arabic culture and peoples”, that’s what you think. I think otherwise. Don’t Muslims want to destroy our culture, and our very selves if we won’t have it? Really? Honest? What about all that cheerful demonstrations after 9/11 all around the Muslim World? Caused by Western offenses, you’d say. Well I do think otherwise; 9/11 is but another episode of what started in the VIIth century–Yihad, as ordered by holy Koran. What Western offenses existed back then?

    The European Middle Ages may have been a harsh time to live in (far less harsh than Arab Middle Ages), but at that time, after the great crisis of the Roman Empire, it began in Europe a demographic, economical and cultural growth which hasn’t stopped since then.

    You’d say that this is due to Arab influence (influence from seminomadic desert barbarians), but of course you don’t have historiographic evidence of that, just pseudo-academic legends. Then how on Earth can you explain that Muslim countries are now far less developed than Western ones?

    According to you the West foolishly cut links with Islam, thus stopping Arabic lore and beneficent influence. And yet, the West continued growing in all orders and the Dar-al-islam continued to be the hellhole it still is. How could this come to happen?

    But I do have archaeological evidence of the contrary to what you think. You Muslims and Islamophiles talk so much about the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean was by far the most active trade zone during ancient times and early Middle Ages. It’s relatively common to find in archaeological diggings, for instance, Egyptian (pre-Arab) objects in such distant places as England. This occurs in strata dating even from pre-Roman times.

    But then all that records of exchange in the Mediterranean, which weren’t discoutinued by any event during a millenium, came abruptly to a halt. Guess when? During the VIIIth century, when Arabs started their expansion through Northern Africa, then flourishing with Graeco-Roman along with developing indigenous cultures, now a uniformly Arab hellhole full of terrorists. Oh my what a coincidence, isn’t it? But then the same happened with papyrus, for one commodity. Until those days it wansn’t uncommon for European kings to use papyrus to write. But from the VIIIth century on, they had to do with parchment, because papyrus came from Egypt, so didn’t came any more.

    Egypt, where stood the Great Library, where Greek Eratostenes accurately measured the size of the spherical Earth centuries before our era. And what’s there now? Madrasas! F###### brainwashing madrasas!

    Without the Arabs we’d go back to Middle Ages? You make me laugh. Still I, unlike you about us, don’t think that Arabs deserve their fate or mindlessness, worship of violence and Islam (Arab word for “submission”). Because they aren’t to blame for having been born into a vicious circle it’s impossible to get out from.

    The West and the rest of the non-Muslim cultures have surrendered enough territories, culturally flourishing in the past. I think that if Islam wants even more, it would be about time to resist it properly. Surely we could if we just tried.

  22. Investigate the Bosnian conflict in greater detail–US and Iranian role in said conflict. And there you will discover a blueprint of sorts.
    Good luck.

  23. You’d say that this is due to Arab influence (influence from seminomadic desert barbarians), but of course you don’t have historiographic evidence of that, just pseudo-academic legends.

    Investigate the fall of Toledo in Spain to the Christians, in 1105.

    Good night.

  24. Zaius, I think you mean 1085.

    I can’t find any information about what happened during the capture, though frankly I’m not looking too hard. Interestingly it seems that a huge wave of jewish immigration to Christian spain took place after Toledo was re-captured.

    As for the myth of enlightened Islam… two references to Al Andalus:
    Fitzgerald: The persistent myth of Andalusia

    Myth of a Golden Age in Andalusia

    (These verification things are bloody hard for dyslexics…)

  25. Oh, you may be referring to the massacre of 1180, but that was a centur after. Jewish fortunes rose and fell in christian spain, reaching their low point during the inquisition but, despite that, they had more opportunity to prosper and live free under christian rule than islamic rule.

  26. Dr. Zaius:

    When a city was captured during the Middle Ages it was no jolly party of course. Investigate the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Sultan granted three days’ time to loot. Seventy-two hours of non-stop enslaving, raping and killing in the world’s most enlighted city.

    AND of course we know about medieval antisemitism, you don’t have to let us know. The same antisemitism that’s now present in the Islamophilic left and the French or Russian jacobine right.

    BUT do investigate the Muslim rule over Toledo, how many times the population, Christians and Jewish dhimmis and even (most times actually) discriminated non-Arab Muslims like Berbers or Spanish converts, revolted against their masters and were bloodity repressed, with exemplary massacres practiced afterwards.

    I know a little about the Wars in Yugoslavia, also about the German-UE role. And how it was the USA who caused entirely on its own that the Croats and the Muslims should crush the Serbians when it would have happen the very contrary without American intervention.

  27. Tell that to Mr. Ledeen. Blather on all you want. I’m looking at the facts on the ground, Sir. Not the rhetoric. The facade is crumbling and the Futurist death mask underneath is rearing its ugly head.

    Pay attention, class – this is apparently an example of non-blather and non-rhetoric – just the “facts on the ground”.

    Dr Z, your assertion that western civilization would crumble without the influence of the islamic world is intriguing (that is what you meant, right? it’s hard to tell sometimes). I don’t in nay way support the destruction of the Islamic world, but there’s no use telling you that since I am apparently a neoLiberal fascist Straussian Ledeenite Ailesian Futurist nihilist liquid metal robot from the future.

    Anyway, can you tell us why islamic culture is essential to civilization? What contribution to art, literature, science or the humanities have they made in the last few hundred years that makes them so vital to our current grasp on modern civilization? Just curious how a group which seems intent on restoring and re-fighting the Middle Ages is in fact keeping us from reverting to them.

    And can you do it without mentioning Ledeen, Strauss, Ailes, Zionism, futurism, etc and without using any obscenities? I apparently don’t read the same “interesting” web sites as you, so we don’t share a common frame of reference.

  28. Islam as the Fastest Growing Religion was never anything but a marketing buzz, much like the equally wrong: Religion of Peace. In fact, in absolute numbers, Christianity is and will increasingly become (as the birthrate of Muslim countries will continue to decrease) the fastest growing religion. Relative it’s some obsucre sect nobody ever heard of. Relative for religions over a couple of million followers, it’s probably Falun Gong. But really, absolute numbers is the only game in town.

    I have taken the domain: – where I intend to put up a site someday I get the time. If there’s anybody who has some material or interesting links, etc. please send to


  29. One must really go to the link from which this article (translation) was taken, and read much more of it, in its context. I got about 2/3rds of the way through it. What I find so striking is that what these Muslims describe is nothing more than the fulfillment of Christ’s words and example, and the irony is all the more profound because the Church is accused of taking advantage of human misery.

    If Mohammed’s life and example were comparable to the life of Christ, then there would be honest competition for the minds, hearts, and souls for those whose lives these messages touch. But there is no competition – none.

    Wherever they went, Christians (Christianity) built the schools, the hospitals, and the institutions of learning. This is nothing new, and this is the core of evangelism. That human nature responds to needs being met is not rocket science, although a religious culture which has never had this concept as foundational to its existence may find it alien. If this is considered the evil of Christianity, then so be it.

    One of the great tragedies of Islam (as well as Hinduism) – is failure to recognize the motivation of the followers of Jesus. When we provide these things (food, clothing, consolation) to the least of those among us, without expectation of reward, we do them also to Him. Understanding this has the tremendous effect of focusing one’s mind on what we do, even the small things, throughout the day.

    I cringe when I read that anecdote in the interview, of the Arabian Prince who dropped $85 million one night in a casino, and tipped the waitress $1 million, and then contemplate the image of him standing before the living Christ, Who asks, “How did you feed my sheep?”

  30. I have just posted on this issue. It is written in Spanish but the links are in English:

    Cae otro mito mahometano: Tampoco es la-religión-que-más-crece.

    There is much more than that if you click on the first link you will read that:

    1. There are more new Christians added to the world population than any other religion on earth every day. This data makes the entire discussion about “rates of growth” irrelevant. The fact is today, that Christianity is the fastest growing religion on this most critical basis. This may change, but today, in 2004 AD, Christians take the prize for being the fastest growing religion.
    2. On none of the 6 continents are Muslims the fastest growing religion.
    3. That Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world is pure myth at best and at worst a deliberate deception of solid statistical facts.

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