The New Neighbors

Will Americans embrace gurdwaras and mosques in the suburbs?

Harvard University religion scholar Diana Eck says the United States is now the most religiously diverse nation in the world, thanks to the Immigration Act of 1965, which eliminated quotas linking immigration to national origins. Since then, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, and new varieties of Jews and Catholics have arrived from every part of the globe and altered the religious landscape. Eck recently spoke with Deborah Caldwell, Beliefnet's religion producer, about America's new religious pluralism, which she documents in her new book, "A New Religious America."

What statistics surprised you?

The growth of the Islamic community. They see a growth to 6 million Muslims, 1,200 mosques, and a doubling of the mosque attendance rate. All of us have some sense there are more Muslims here than before, but the dimensions of this, that make the Islamic population virtually equal to the Jewish population in the United States, are arresting.

One Nation, Under God

  • Read an excerpt of Diana Eck's new book.

  • Gregg Easterbrook says America is still a Christian nation.

  • Another view: Despite pluralism, Rick Rood says, there is still just one way to God.

  • Explore the website of Eck's Pluralism Project.
  • What trends surprised you?

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