In Japan, Islam is the fastest growing religion. The number of Muslims has increased from 110,000 in 2010 to 330,000 in 2020. The increase is mainly due to the influx of foreign workers and students from Muslim countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan, but according to a study, as many as 50,000 Japanese have converted to Islam in the last ten years.

110 mosques

Japan now has 110 mosques. Ten of them are located in Tokyo.

The mosques are a symbol of cultural exchange between Japan and the Islamic world. They promote mutual understanding and respect, writes the Pakistani website YellowTimes.

Much is being done to promote the Japanese’s understanding of Islam and Muslims. Most mosques welcome and organise their own events for Japanese people.

Mutual understanding and global harmony

The rapid growth of the Muslim population is the fruit of Japan’s welcoming attitude towards diversity and multiculturalism.

The rise of Islam has also led to an increase in Islamic tourism. Muslim-friendly travel agencies cater to the need for halal-certified restaurants and hotels, prayer rooms and more, making Japan attractive to Muslims from around the world.

The growth of Islam provides a unique opportunity for cultural exchange, mutual understanding and global harmony, writes Yellow Times.

Shinto, Buddhism – and Christianity

The dominant religions in Japan are Shinto and Buddhism. Both have around 70 percent support due to the fact that many Japanese practice both Shinto and Buddhism – which may seem foreign from a monotheistic culture.

Christianity was brought to Japan in 1549 by the Portuguese and is the country’s third largest religion with a support of one and a half percent, according to the CIA World Factbook.

High voltage level

Elsewhere in Asia, there is a high level of tension where Buddhism and Islam share space. Buddhists fear that the Muslims will swamp them demographically. They also fear that their country will be Islamised, as is the case in many parts of Central Asia.

Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan were all majority Buddhist societies before the arrival of Islam in the seventh to eleventh centuries.

– Came like a flood

When the Muslims conquered the Buddhist city of Khotan in Xinjiang in 1006 AD, a poet wrote:

We came down upon them like a flood of sin/We went out into their cities/We tore down the idol temples/We smashed the Buddha’s head.

Muslims make up around 24 per cent of the world’s population and by 2050 will have grown to 28-30 per cent.

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