One in Four of World's Population Muslim

Total Muslim population hits 1.57 billion

By Edward J. Carr
|  Friday, Oct 9, 2009  |  Updated 11:45 AM PDT
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One in Four of World's Population Muslim

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Indian Muslims gather during Eid ul-Fitr prayers at the Jama Masjid in New Delhi, India.

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Nearly a quarter of the world's population is Muslim, according to a new study titled "Mapping the Global Muslim Population."

The Islamic population is 1.57 billion, accordiding to The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which used census information and population surveys from around the world to establish the figure. The highest Muslim populations are in Indonesia, with more than 200 million, followed by Pakistan (174 million), India (160 million) and Bangladesh (145 million).

Researchers found India's numbers particularly interesting because even though it boasts the third-largest Muslim population, Muslims only comprise 13 percent of India's total population.

"Most people think of the Muslim world being Muslims living mostly in Muslim-majority countries," Brian Grim, the project's senior researcher, said. "But with India ... that sort of turns that on its head a bit."

Other numbers revealed by the report: Ethiopa, for example, has almost as many Muslims as Afghanistan. France also has one million more Muslims than the U.S.

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