And the World’s largest Muslim country will be….
A report predicting India would surpass Indonesia in having the world’s largest Muslim population by 2050 was seen as confirming a “demographic shift” in the country, observers said Friday.
“India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia,” the report Thursday on the future of world religions by Pew Research Centre said.
The worldwide population of Hindus is projected to rise from 1 billion to 1.4 billion by 2050 making it the third-biggest religious group after Christianity and Islam.
In 2010 Hindus were the largest religious group in the Asia-Pacific region, but by 2050 the number of Muslims in this region was expected to surpass the number of Hindus, the report said.
“The projections are nothing new,” New Delhi-based political scientist Ashok Jha said. “The Muslim population is expected to grow in India, but so is the Hindu population.”
Such research may give fodder, however, to Hindu right-wing groups who have long complained about the rise in India’s Muslim population, he said.
“A demographic shift has been taking place due to conversions, decline in birth rate of Hindus and large-scale infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims,” Dattatreya Hosabale, joint general secretary of the right-wing Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) said.
The RSS is the ideological fountainhead of the Bharatiya Janata Party which currently runs India’s federal government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Some RSS leaders have been advocating that Hindu families should have at least three children each.
“The report confirms what we have already said and also shows the same trend is happening all over the world,” Hosabale said.