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

Updated 06 January 2018

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.


Daesh-inspired attacks by inmates prompt UK prison terror review

Updated 2 min 54 sec ago

Daesh-inspired attacks by inmates prompt UK prison terror review

  • Prisoners accessed Daesh propaganda ahead of a knife attack on a prison officer
  • Experts warn that lives are at risk if the government does not change its strategy on terrorism in prison

 

LONDON: The British government has launched a review into the way terrorists are handled inside jails amid concerns that prison officers are at risk from Daesh-inspired terror attacks, according to The Independent.

The review comes after two inmates were jailed earlier this month for the attempted murder in January of a prison officer using improvised weapons and fake suicide vests — the latest of four terror attacks carried out by incarcerated or recently released prisoners in the past year.

The two men behind the January attacks accessed Daesh propaganda in jail. One assailant — Brusthom Ziamani — was known to be a terrorism risk after originally being jailed for plotting to behead a soldier.

His accomplice, Baz Hockton, was radicalized inside prison, where he was jailed for a series of random knife attacks.

The Ministry of Justice said it has safeguards in place to prevent and monitor extremism, but neither convict had raised concerns and Ziamani was about to be given a “certificate of achievement” for complying with a deradicalization program for eight months.

There are currently a record number of people in British prisons for terror offences, and three-quarters of those are categorized as Islamist extremists, 19 percent are far-right, with six percent categorized elsewhere.

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READ MORE: Jailed terrorists fake UK deradicalization schemes to gain early release: Report

Segregation plan defended after UK prison system dubbed ‘Harvard for radicals’

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Experts have warned that the planned review must lead to urgent action, or else risk the death of a prison officer at the hands of extremists.

Ian Acheson, a former prison governor who carried out the government’s 2016 review of Islamist extremism in jails, said he feared that a prison officer could be taken hostage and executed.

“I’m not at all satisfied from the evidence that we’ve seen that the prison service is on top of this problem,” he told The Independent. “We’ve come within millimeters of a prison officer being murdered by a terrorist in prison.

“Terrorism Act prisoners are very small in number but the harm they can cause to society is huge, and after countless failures of intelligence and security inside prisons we ought to have got on top of this now.

“There is something very wrong at the moment inside our high-security prisons and it would be deluded to suggest otherwise.”

A prison officer working in a high-security prison previously told The Independent that jails were being “run on chaos” and that staff did not have the capacity to monitor and tackle radicalization.

He said there was “no control” over extremist inmates in prison, adding: “I don’t see any end to the attacks whatsoever, those ones that come in with an extremist view leave with a stronger one.”