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Europe's Share Of Muslims Expected To Rise Sharply

Europe's Share Of Muslims Expected To Rise Sharply

If arrivals halted altogether, France - which was home to an estimated 5.7 million Muslims (8.8 percent of the population) in 2016 according to the report - would continue to have Europe's largest Muslim community.

The number of Muslims In some European countries could triple over the next three decades while remaining virtually static in others, according to a Pew Research Center study.

The study was based on census and survey data, population registers, immigration data and other sources. "Levels of religious commitment and belief vary among Europe's Muslim populations", the report said.

Cyprus was found to have the highest share of Muslims in the European Union (25.4 percent), due largely to the Turkish Cypriot community in the north of the island.

Using the high scenario, Germany would have the largest Muslim population, 17.5 million, because of the large number of refugees it has accepted in recent years. These fears have also spread across the Atlantic into the United States, where Muslims make up 1 percent of the population.

All three used a mid-2016 estimate of 25.8 million as a baseline, but assumed different future migration rates. It stresses that unknown factors make these impossible to predict precisely.

Europe's Muslim population will likely double by 2050 even if European countries stop accepting refugees, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Europe's non-Muslims, the report says, are expected to decline in total number in each scenario. A "high" immigration scenario puts the estimate at 14 percent.

The trend affects countries differently depending on government policies. Pew's projections showed Europe being unevenly affected by migration.

France has the highest percentage of Muslim residents in Europe, with Muslims making up around 8.8 percent of the population.

Under the "medium" scenario, Britain - the top destination for non-refugee Muslims migration - would pass out France while under the "high" scenario the mantle would pass to Germany, which has received over 1.5 million refugees in the past two years.

The three different scenarios play out differently across individual countries.

This is partly down to a record number of people seeking asylum in Europe as they flee conflicts in Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries, but mainly due to normal migration from Muslim countries.

While under the high migration, the record flow of migrants who came to Europe between 2014 and 2016 would continue indefinitely, resulting in 75 million Muslims in Europe, or about 14 percent of the population by the middle of the century.

Migrants arriving in Munich, September 2015.

Muslims in Europe are on average younger (30.4 years) than non-Muslims (43.8), meaning more women are of child-bearing age. Even with "high" migration, Poland's Muslims are expected to total no more than 60,000.

Should that happen, several major European countries are expected to shoulder most of the burden. Euronews' Insiders programme recently spoke to one young activist in Hungary who claimed statistics showed that "in 50 or 60 years' time, our continent's population could be replaced, from an ethnic point of view... white people will disappear".

Even with the most immigration, Muslims would "still be considerably smaller than the populations of both Christians and people with no religion in Europe", the researchers concluded.