Study: Muslims = Quarter of World Population

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A new study reveals nearly one in four people in the world practice Islam.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life says the total global population is estimated to be 6.8 billion. Of this number, Muslims of all ages living in more than 200 countries in the world today total 1.57 billion or 23 percent.

When compared to Christianity, there are an estimated 2.1 billion Christians of all ages living in the world today.

The report gives precise numbers on a religious population whose size has long been debated.

The study also maps out where the world's Muslim population lives in a very comprehensive fashion. It also contradicts the idea that Muslims are Arabs and Arabs are Muslims.

Here are some of the key findings of the Pew Forum's study Mapping the Global Muslim Population: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Muslim Population.

  • 60 percent of all practicing Muslims in the world live in Asia.
  • 20 percent live in the Middle East and North Africa.
  • 15 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 2.4 percent live in Europe and less than 1 percent in the Americas.
  • The world's largest Muslim population can be found in Indonesia. There are more than 200 million Muslims living there.

The report finds that India, which is majority Hindu, has the third largest Muslim population of any nation with more than 161 million Muslims.  Germany has four million Muslims and that's more than the entire country of Lebanon.

There are concerns about the growth of Islam, because in Muslim countries ruled by Islamic law, religious liberty is rare or nonexistent.

"Look at how Christians today are treated in countries where Islam is dominant," said Geert Wilders, Dutch politician and filmmaker. "Try buying a bible in Saudi Arabia. Try to visit a church in Iran. Try to do anything Christian in an Islamic country. There is no room for it. They are intolerant."

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Heather Sells

Heather Sells

CBN News Reporter

Heather Sells enjoys reporting on a variety of issues for CBN News. Some of her recent stories have focused on religious liberties, technology, AIDS, overseas missions, domestic trafficking, and politics.  Follow Heather on Twitter @SellsHeather and "like" her at Facebook.com/HeatherSellsCBNNews.