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Saturday, Nov 01 , 2014 ( Muharram, 1436)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

Muslims 1/4 of World Population: US Survey

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Asia is home to nearly 20 percent of the global Muslim population.
CAIRO – Muslims make up around one fourth of the world’s population and are mostly concentrated in Asia, according to a new study by an American fact tank that provides information on issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world through public opinion polling.

“There are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today,” the Pew Research Center concluded in its study, “Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population.”

It found that Muslims make up 23 percent of the world’s 6.8 billion people, the sweeping majority of them Sunnis.

“Of the total Muslim population, 10-13% are Shiite Muslims and 87-90% are Sunni Muslims.”

According to the study, based on data from 232 countries and territories, Asia is home to nearly 20 percent of the global Muslim population.

Indonesia is the world’s most populated Muslim country with 203 million Muslims, about 13 percent of the world’s Muslim population.

Pakistan has 174 million Muslims, India 161 million, Bangladesh 145 million, Iran 74 million and Turkey 74 million, according to the study.

“Together these six countries are home to about 85% of Asia's Muslim population and more than half (53%) of the global Muslim population.”

Nearly half of Asia’s Muslims are concentrated in South Asia.

“The remainder are somewhat equally divided between Southeast-East Asia (26%) and Central-Western Asia (24%),” says the study.

It found that the Middle East and North Africa have 315 million Muslims, about 20 percent of the world’s Muslims.

“The Middle East-North Africa region has the highest percentage of Muslim-majority countries.”

The study also finds that there are 240 million Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa, making up about 15 percent of the global Muslim population.

One-third of them live in Nigeria, which has about 74 million Muslims, about half of its population.

The region is home to countries with very large Muslim majorities, including Mauritania (99%), Niger (99%), Somalia (99%), Mayotte (98%), Comoros (98%), Djibouti (97%), Senegal (96%), Gambia (95%), Mali (93%), Guinea (84%) and Sierra Leone (71%).

Muslim Minorities

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Europe has 38 million Muslims, making up five percent of the continent’s population.

The study, described as the first-ever of its kind, indicates that one-fifth of Muslims (300 million) live in non-Muslim countries.

“There minority Muslim populations are often quite large.”

Hindu-majority India has the third-largest Muslim population after Indonesia and Pakistan.

“China has more Muslims than Syria, while Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined.”

The study notes that China’s 22 million Muslims are distributed in every Chinese province, with the highest concentration in the western provinces, primarily Xinjiang, Ningxia and Gansu.

“Xinjiang is the only Muslim-majority province of China, with Muslims accounting for approximately 53% of the total population.”

The study finds that Europe has 38 million Muslims, making up five percent of the continent’s population, mostly concentrated in eastern and central Europe.

Russia has more than 16 million Muslims, the largest Muslim population in Europe.

According to the study, Germany has the biggest Muslim minority in western Europe, with more than four million population.

It put the number of Muslims in France, which was previously known to have the continent’s biggest Muslim minority, at 3.5 million.

Britain has fewer than two million Muslims, nearly 3 percent of the total population, while Italy has 36,000 Muslim populations, the smallest in Europe.

The study says there are nearly 4.6 million Muslims in the Americas, with nearly 2.5 million Muslims in the US and 700,000 in Canada.

It notes that Muslims make up 16 percent of Suriname’s population, the largest Muslim population in the Americas.

Argentina has a Muslim minority of 800,000, the largest in South America.

The figures presented by the study about Muslim populations in the West, particularly in Europe and the US, contradict the estimates usually reported by Muslim organizations in these regions.

Muslims in the US, for example, are commonly believed to number more than 7 million while France is believed to be home to more than six million Muslims.

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