US businesses prepare for halal boom as Muslims to become second largest religious group by 2040

Updated 06 January 2018
0

US businesses prepare for halal boom as Muslims to become second largest religious group by 2040

LONDON: Muslims are expected to replace Jews as the second largest religious group in the US after Christians by 2040, according to a new study.
There were 3.45 million Muslims living in the US in 2017, and Muslims made up about 1.1 percent of the total US population, said the report from US think tank Pew Research Centre (PRC).
“Muslims in the US are not as numerous as the number of Americans who identify as Jewish by religion, according to our estimate,” however the US Muslim population will grow “much faster” than the country’s Jewish population, it said.
In 2007, when the study was first conducted by PRC, the body estimated that there were 2.35 million Muslims in the US By 2011, the number of Muslims had grown to 2.75 million.
Since then, the Muslim population has continued to grow at a rate of roughly 100,000 per year, driven both by higher fertility rates among Muslim Americans as well as the continued migration of Muslims to the US.
Scott Lucas, professor of American Studies at the Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham, told Arab News he believed the Muslim community in the US is “thriving,” particularly in major cities such as New York, Minneapolis and Detroit.
Lucas said: “Some might find these statistics of interest because of the tensions raised around Islamophobia and the anti-Muslim rhetoric that is whipped up by some leaders and some media outlets, but it’s important to emphasize that Muslims are very much a part of America, they are us and we are them. Muslims practice their faith just as many others practice their faith. The media has created an artificial division.”
Lucas added that despite the rhetoric espoused by US President Donald and the resultant rise in US hate crimes, “the day-to-day reality of Muslims remains one largely of inclusion and going about their daily lives as we all do.”
The professor added that, in parallel with the growing Muslim population in the US, he expected to see the erection of more mosques and the creation of more halal products and services. He added: “However, remember not all Muslims practice their faith by the book, just as not all Jews eat kosher food. People practice their faith in different ways.”
Haroon Latif, director of insights at New York-based research firm Dinar Standard, also predicted an impending spike in demand for halal products in the US.
Latif told Arab News: “The rapid growth of the US Muslim population has substantial implications for business. Muslims are a lucrative consumer segment with an aggregate disposable income of $107 billion in 2015.
“They (Muslims) are tied together by common values and companies are beginning to respond, from halal food to lifestyle products and services, spanning fashion, travel, and financial services.
“US-based companies will increasingly clamor to market to and capture the loyalty of Muslim consumers at home and abroad,” he said.


India’s Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

Updated 11 December 2018
0

India’s Modi stares at biggest election loss since coming to power

  • Analysts say a big loss for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party would signify rural dismay and help unite the opposition
  • Poll analysts cautioned that with the counting in preliminary stages, it was still too early to predict the outcome of state races involving millions of voters

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling party could lose power in three key states, four TV networks said on Tuesday, citing votecount leads, potentially handing Prime Minister Narendra Modi his biggest defeat since he took office in 2014, and months ahead of a general election.
The main opposition Congress party could form governments in the central states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, and in the western state of Rajasthan, all big heartland states that powered Modi to a landslide win in the 2014 general election.
Analysts say a big loss for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party would signify rural dismay and help unite the opposition, despite his high personal popularity in the face of criticism that he did not deliver on promises of jobs for young people and better conditions for farmers.
“We’ve all voted for Congress this time and our candidate is winning here,” said Bishnu Prasad Jalodia, a wheat grower in Madhya Pradesh, where it appears as if Congress might have to woo smaller parties to keep out Modi’s party.
“BJP ignored us farmers, they ignored those of us at the bottom of the pyramid.”
The elections are also a test for Rahul Gandhi, president of the left-of-center Congress, who is trying to forge a broad alliance with regional groups and face Modi with his most serious challenge yet, in the election that must be held by May.
In Rajasthan, the Congress was leading in 114 of the 199 seats contested, against 81 for the BJP, in the initial round of voting, India Today TV said.
In Chhattisgarh, the Congress was ahead in 59 of the 90 seats at stake, with the BJP at 24. In Madhya Pradesh, the most important of the five states that held assembly elections over the past few weeks, Congress was ahead, with 112 of 230 seats. The Hindu nationalist BJP was at 103, the network said.
Three other TV channels also said Congress was leading in the three states, with regional parties leading in two smaller states that also voted, Telangana in the south and Mizoram in the northeast.
Poll analysts cautioned that with the counting in preliminary stages, it was still too early to predict the outcome of state races involving millions of voters.
Local issues usually dominate state polls, but politicians are seeing the elections as a pointer to the national vote just months away.
Indian markets recovered some ground after an early fall as the central bank governor’s unexpected resignation the previous day shocked investors.
The rupee currency dropped as much as 1.5 percent to 72.465 per dollar, while bond yields rose 12 basis points to 7.71 percent after the resignation of Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel.
The broader NSE share index was down 1.3 percent, with investors cautious ahead of the election results.
“As the three erstwhile BJP states have a large agrarian population, the BJP’s drubbing could be interpreted to mean that farm unrest is real,” Nomura said in a research note before the results.
“A rout of the BJP on its homeground states should encourage cohesion among the opposition parties to strengthen the non-BJP coalition for the general elections.”
Gandhi, the fourth generation scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, has sought to build a coalition of regional groups, some headed by experienced firebrand, ambitious politicians.
Congress has already said it would not name Gandhi, who is seen as lacking experience, as a prime ministerial candidate.
“When one and one become eleven, even the mighty can be dethroned,” opposition leader Akhilesh Yadav said of the prospect of growing opposition unity.