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Islam (the term means submission) is the world's second largest religion, with an estimated 1.5 billion followers. [Source: Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents, at Adherents.com -- last accessed Sep. 20, 2007)
See also: Islamism, a totalitarian ideological movement with a self-declared goal to bring the entire world into submission to Islam. Considered by many to be a distortion of Islam.
In the USA, Islam is among the fastest growing religions. America is said to have 1200 mosques and Islamic centers, and 6-7 million adherents. However, these numbers are being disputed. (See also: Statistics).
The term "Arab" describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable. (Matter of fact, Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim nation).
The word 'Islam' is derived from the Arabic 'Islama', which means 'submission.' The religion was founded by Muhammad, whom Muslims consider to be the last prophet of the one God, Allah.
Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD. "At the age of 40 he had a visitation from the Archangel Gabriel, who revealed to him the contents of the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book, and gave him the task of cleansing Mecca of pagan shrines." (Source)
According to the Quran, "[T]he only religion acceptable to God is Submission" (to Allah). (Quran 3:19)
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