Fast growth in Muslim community
TASMANIA’S Muslim population is one of the fastest growing religious groups — so much so that Hobart’s only mosque is bursting at the seams.
The latest Census data in 2016 found there were 2500 Muslims living in Tasmania — an increase of 45 per cent in five years.
This was well above the national increase of 27 per cent.
President of the Tasmanian Muslim Association – the state’s head Islamic council – Kazi Sabbir said numbers had continued to grow considerably in the last three years and predicted there were now around 4000 Muslims in Hobart alone.
He said the university was a big drawcard and the biggest challenge facing the growing Islamic community was finding adequate space for them to worship with only one mosque in Hobart.
“To accommodate the big increased number at the mosque is difficult,” Mr Sabbir said.
“We’ve had to divide it into two sessions because we can’t fit them all in in one session. We’re still seeing that that is not enough.”
Mr Sabbir said the community had recently had to expand to use the Moonah Multicultural Hub for prayer on Fridays to accommodate more worshippers.
Last weekend, the association held its first open day at the West Hobart mosque, which was well attended – including a visit from Premier Will Hodgman for the first time – Mr Sabbir said.
“In Tasmania, people are generally very welcoming and respectful,” he said. “There are only a few exceptions in some areas for women who wear the hijab or niqab — they sometimes get abusive words (said to them) or men who are identifiably Muslim, but they’re very exceptional cases.”
The number of Tasmanians practising Hinduism has also grown considerably in recent years.
Between 2011 and 2016, the Hindu population grew by 58 per cent in Tasmania and by 60 per cent nationally. In the same period, the number of people born in India – where the vast majority of the world’s Hindus are from – living in the state grew by 35 per cent
The number of people who identified as practising no religion continues to grow and accounts for the majority of the population both nationally and in Tasmania.
The number of atheists in Tasmania grew by 37 per cent to just over 195,000 in 2016.
The biggest migrant population growth continues to be Chinese.
The latest statistics also showed Tasmania experienced a drop of 12 per cent in the number of Italian migrants residing in the state.