Membership in Catholic, Muslim communities surges in Norway

STOCKHOLM (AP) " Norway's official statistics agency says the country's Roman Catholic and Muslim communities have added tens of thousands of members in recent years while the state Lutheran Church is declining.

Statistics Norway said Friday the number of Catholics has jumped 42 percent since 2012, to 145,000 this year.

Membership in Islamic groups rose by 32 percent to 148,000 in the same period. Those figures were not broken down by denomination.

The statistics showed Norway's tiny Jewish community had just 770 members at the start of 2016.

The changes reflect Norway's growing diversity amid migration from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

The Lutheran Church's own statistics show it lost nearly 37,000 members in 2015. It remains Norway's biggest religious group, with 3.8 million members, about 73 percent of the population.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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