Religious mutual funds more than doubled in number during the last three years, according to a study released this week by MMA Praxis Mutual Funds.

The study, which was conducted by Thomson Financial [publisher of MFMN], for MMA Praxis, which runs a church-owned fund family, found that the number of U.S. funds that invest based on religious values increased from 34 in 1999 to 75 in 2002, a jump of 121%.

In addition, assets in religious funds rose from $3.65 billion to $4.42 billion in 2002, an increase of 21%, according to the study. The study also found that religious funds are becoming more diverse in the faiths they serve. Whereas in 1999, most of the funds were Catholic, Lutheran and Mennonite, the most recent data show that Islamic and Christian Science funds have also sprung up.

Last year, MMA Praxis released a separate national survey, which sought to gauge how many Americans were investing based on their faiths. The study found that 56% of investors consider their religious beliefs when making investment decisions.

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