Muslims will outnumber Christians by 2050 - local Islamic community
The local Muslim community is predicting that followers of the Islamic faith will outnumber Christians globally by 2050.
Acting emir of the Islamic Council of Jamaica, Mekaeel Maknoon, told those in attendance at a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week that the advantages of the Islamic faith are increasingly being recognised.
"We are always willing and ready to allow other people to live and experience the way that they worship," he said.
"When they get to understand that we are human beings like they are and share the same concerns that they do, there is a difference in the complexion that arises in relation to how they view us," said Maknoon.
The number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled over the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than two billion in 2010, making it the religion with the highest following.
Islam is ranked number two with just over 1.6 billion followers. A 2015 Pew Research Center Report suggested that Islam was the world's fastest-growing religion by number of conversions each year: a bid to extricate itself from perceptions that it endorses the actions of international terrorist groups.
Maknoon suggested that the Muslim community was also successful in repelling misperceptions bedevilling the community.
"We have nothing to do with those that have labelled themselves Islamic terrorist organisations and terrorist acts committed by groups or individuals who profess Islamic or Islamist motivations or goals," he said.
Islamic terrorists have relied on particular interpretations of the tenets of the Quran and the Hadith, citing these scriptures to justify violent tactics, including mass murder, genocide, and slavery.
He asserted that the Islamic faith is tolerant in allowing people to live, eat and practise their religion the way they want to practise.
"Everybody has a religion, everybody has fundamental principles by which they live their lives," Maknoon said. "And for us, religion is interpreted their way."
He added: "We just have to impart knowledge until would-be recipients get it, but not in yours or ours, but their time."
Maknoon argued that misperceptions of the Muslim faith have emerged over the past 40 or 50 years.
"This is primarily because there are certain (groups) which were supported by the Western world to fight against regimes with which they are not happy."
He charged that these groups are now seen as representative of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world.
"They are not of us and are not of our making, so we reject them," he declared.