Despite being ruled by an atheist government, Islam has become the most popular religion among young Chinese under the age of 30 according a recent report. China officially recognizes five religions, these are Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestanism and Islam.
Islam has the largest number of young followers at 22.4% of the sample population who were interviewed at Beijing’s Renmin University’s National Survey Research Center. Catholicism comes at a close second with 22%.
The reasons advanced for the changing demographics include the fact that most Muslims are from minority groups in the provinces that are not affected by Chinas one child policy.
However, this news comes against the backdrop of religious controversy during the Holy month of Ramadan earlier this year when Chinese officials in the province of Xinjiang prohibited children, government employees and teachers from fasting during Ramadan.
Another study suggests that there is a projected 30% increase in the world Muslim population with countries in Africa and the middle east experience large population growth accounting for this increase.
How China is to deal with this increase in Islamic population remains to be seen.