Thursday, October 08, 2009

Where are the World's Muslims?

Ask most people about where Muslims live and the common answer is "the Middle East" - and that is wrong. A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that the the world's 1.57 billion Muslims make up nearly a quarter of the global population, with most of them clustered in countries in Asia. The data also showed that there were more Muslims in Germany than in Lebanon, and more in Russia than in Jordan and Libya together.
Nearly two-thirds of the world's Muslims live in Asia, with only one in five in the Middle East and North Africa - even though more than half of the 20 countries in that region are overwhelmingly Muslim. Morocco claims 32 million believers.

"This whole idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims is really just obliterated by this report."Amaney Jamal, an assistant professor of politics at Princeton University

Indonesia's 203 million Muslims make up around 88 per cent of the country's population and puts Indonesia at the very top of the statistics with 13 per cent of the World total.

Other countries in the top five in terms of numbers of Muslims are Pakistan, where there are 174 million Muslims who make up around 96 per cent of the country's population, followed by India with 161 million, or 13.4 per cent.

Shia and Sunni

The overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunnis - between 87 and 90 per cent versus 10-13 per cent who are Shia Muslims. The report estimates there are between 154 million and 200 million Shia Muslims in the world; Most Shias live in Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq. The highest numbers, around 70 million of them, live in Iran.

Egypt has the largest Muslim population in the Middle East and northern Africa region, while Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa.

Both countries have around 78 million Muslims, but in Egypt they are in a clear majority - nearly 95 per cent - while in Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous nation, they make up around half the population.

Europe has around 38 million Muslims, around 16 million of whom live in Russia, 4 million in Germany and 3.5 million in France.

Of the approximately 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas, more than half, or about 2.5 million, live in the United States.

Data from 232 countries and territories were gathered and analysed for the study, which the Pew Forum called "the largest project of its kind to date."

According to internet-based group, Adherents, there are currently 2.1 billion Christians, 900 million Hindus and 14 million Jews worldwide.


Anonymous said...

According to news from many sources, there are
1,7 billion muslims in the world and 1 of every 4 people is muslim .

Sandy McCutcheon said...

Yes, 1.7 billion was a figure often quoted, but we are told that 1.57 is a more accurate figure. It still leaves the ratio as 1 in 4.