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Census Reveals New Statistics about North American Shias

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Despite being a relatively new demographic to North America, Shia Muslims are flourishing in the United States and Canada. In fact, according to a census performed by the Al Huda institute and projections based upon that report, the community is growing in leaps and bounds.

In 1954, a Lebanese World War II veteran organized the Federation of Islamic Association (FIA). This organization now owns its own buildings and extensive camp grounds, publishes the Muslim Star, and funds scholarships for college-bound high school graduates. Since the establishment of the FIA, Shias in the United States and Canada have established approximately 292 Mosques, 730 Musallas, 750 Hussainiyas, 872 societies/associations, 337 cultural centers, 935 elementary and secondary school classes, 83 publications, and held an impressive 1329 religious and cultural functions as early as 1995. Since then, nearly 25 annual conferences, conventions, retreats, and camps have arisen to accommodate this community, boasting large crowds and increased attendance each year.

The growth of Islamic awareness has exponentially inclined over the past 25 years. Canadian Muslims have mosques in at least one city in every province, with Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, New Foundland, and Prince Edward Island being the ten most heavily populated. These mosques are sites of a broad spectrum of Islamic activities from Friday prayers and holiday celebrations to marriage and funeral rituals and classes for all. In the United States, the states of California, New York, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Georgia, Virginia, Indiana, and Maryland prove to be the top ten states with major Muslim/Shia communities established and active.

According to the census, in 1995 in the Canadian province of Ontario, there were at least 325,000 Muslims, 78,800 of those being Shias. In the earlier mentioned provinces of Canada, there were a total of 1,111,000 Muslims, 256,000 of whom were Shias. Furthermore, out of 112 mosques, 27 were those of Shias. Since then, there has been nearly an 18 percent growth in these numbers, resulting in a projected 1.4 million Muslim in Canada, with an approximate 300,000 of them being Shias.

In 1995, the United States had a total of 5,822,000 Muslims, 1,175,000 of which were Shias. In addition, of the total 749 Mosques, Shias have build a total of 144 mosques, 22 of which are in the state of California with 1,035,000 Muslims, 276,000 of them being Shias. Current estimates show that there are more than eight million Muslims in the United States due to immigration, a high birth rate, and an astounding conversion rate.

According to one report, more than 200,000 individuals convert to Islam in America each year. The report also indicates that the two largest groups of converts to Islam are African Americans of both genders and Caucasian women. The two groups are closely followed by a growing number of Latino Americans who embrace Islam. According to projections, the Shia demographic comprises approximately 1.8 million of the eight million large community of American Muslims.

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