Muslims form quarter of world population

Muhammad with sword, cresent and foot resting on globe

Muhammad with sword, cresent and foot resting on globe

CBCNEWS…Nearly one in four of the world’s 6.8 billion people are Muslim, with about 700,000 of them living in Canada, says a report released in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

The world’s Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report.

It was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation, which aim to increase people’s understanding of religion around the world.

Three years in the making, the report analyzed 1,500 databases and surveyed 50 demographers and researchers in 232 countries. It paints a surprising portrait of where Muslims live globally.

More than 300 million Muslims live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion, and these minority Muslim populations are often quite large. India, for example, which has a majority Hindu population, also has the third-largest population of Muslims worldwide.

China has more Muslims than Syria, while Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined. Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.

Moreover, while the epicentre of Islam is in the Middle East, more than 60 per cent of the world’s Muslims live in Asia.

About 20 per cent live in the Middle East and North Africa, 15 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2.4 per cent in Europe and 0.3 per cent in the Americas.

After Christianity, which has 2.2 billion followers worldwide, Islam is the world’s second-largest religion.

A similar study on global Christianity is planned for next year.

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