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Muslims become ‘Less Religious’: CSDS survey

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New Delhi: In 2021, according to the latest CSDS survey, Indian Muslims have become ‘less religious.’ They are now skeptical about any change in India’s religious harmony, and they have felt religious discrimination since the BJP came to power.

According to the findings of the survey, in comparison to the first survey in 2016, the proportion of Muslims praying, fasting, visiting mosques, reading religious materials, or watching religious content has decreased.

Muslim youths were reported to be more religious than any other group in the 2016 survey. As per the survey, 97 percent of Muslims, Hindus (92 percent), Sikhs (92 percent), and Christians (92 percent) stated they prayed regularly (91 percent).

However, only 86 percent of Muslim youth prayed regularly in the 2021 survey, down from 11 percent five years prior. For instance, the percentage of young people who say they pray regularly has increased among Sikhs (96%) and Christians (93%) while declining very slightly among Hindus (88 percent).

Similarly, the number of Muslim youths visiting places of worship has decreased dramatically. In 2016, 85 percent of Muslim respondents said they visited mosques on a regular basis, but only 79 percent indicated they did in 2021.

Muslim youths were reported to be more religious than any other group in the 2016 survey. In 2016, 97 percent of Muslims, Hindus (92 percent), Sikhs (92 percent), and Christians (92 percent) claimed they prayed on a regular basis (91 percent).

Other religions also saw declines, although Muslims saw the biggest drop 6 percent, followed by Hindus (4 percent, up from 92 percent), Christians (2 percent, up from 91 percent), and Sikhs (1 percent) (to 96 percent from 97).

In the 2021 survey, 19% of respondents claimed their religious practice had increased, while 17% said it had decreased, 57% said it had remained the same, and 7% stated they had not responded.

imilarly, a higher proportion of Muslims than other religions reported a net reduction in religious practice. While 18 percent of Muslim youths reported increasing religious practice, 20% reported a decrease in religious participation.

Around 25% of Christians and Sikhs who responded said their religious practice had increased, and a reduction was observed by 13% of respondents. About 20 percent of respondents reported a rise in religious participation among Hindus, while 16 percent observed a fall.

“One would imagine that being on the receiving end of hate, discrimination, and violence, some Muslim respondents might have felt “less comfortable” about exposing their religious beliefs,” the report concluded. This could be due to the fact that Muslims are more cautious when discussing their faith. As a result, the survey’s results may not be a true reflection of reality.

The Centre undertook the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) survey in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German think tank. The report, titled “Indian Youth: Aspirations and Vision for the Future,” was based on a poll of 6,277 persons aged 18 to 34 from 18 states conducted in July-August 2021.

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