Source: The Guardian
Islam may be most closely associated with the Middle East, where it emerged in Arabia in the seventh century, but today the region is home to only one in five of the world's Muslims, according to a study of thereligion's global distribution.
The world's Muslim population stands at 1.57 billion, meaning that nearly one in four people practise Islam, according to the US Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which published the survey. This compares to 2.25 billion Christians.
The top five Muslim countries in the world include only one in the Middle East ‑ Egypt ‑ behind Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, in that order. Russia, the survey shows, has more Muslims than the populations of Libya and Jordan combined. Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon. China has a bigger Muslim population than Syria.
The work, the largest of its kind, was the result of three years of research examining data from 232 countries and territories.
The portrait it provides of Islam's distribution could have a profound influence on public policy in the west, and on attempts by the US, British and other governments to reach out to Muslims.