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Islam declared most popular religion among youth in China: Report

Despite the country’s rule by the officially atheist Communist Party, Islam has a robust following among China’s younger generation, as per report released on Tuesday.

It was found that Islam having the most followers among the under-30 set.

In China, only five religions were recognizing: Buddhism, Catholicism, Taoism, Protestantism and Islam. Islam has the largest percentage of young followers, with 22.4 % of those queried for the annual China Religion Survey, which was conducted by the National Survey Research Center at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“Islam tends to have a younger demographic,” Wei Dedong, a professor of Buddhist studies at the School of Philosophy at Renmin who had a hand in the research, told the state-run Global Times. “Most believers of Islam belong to ethnic minority groups and it is common for a woman to give birth to several children. The children would also become Muslims while it is very rare to have an adult converting to Islam.”

Following Islam closely at 22 %, Catholicism was the second-most-practiced religion among those under 30.

Religions traditionally practiced by Chinese like Buddhism and Taosim, still remained popular among religious worshippers at least 60 years of age. The survey found Buddhism has the highest number of followers of the five religions.

Local government bodies in far western Xinjiang province, home to a mostly Muslim population, announced limits on Ramadan, restricting government employees, teachers and children from fasting during the holy month, in addition to other associated traditions.