MORE MUSLIMS LIVE IN ASIA-PACIFIC THAN THE MIDDLE EAST

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SHAFAQNA – Nearly a quarter of the world’s population is Muslim. The religion is dominant in North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia.

The world of the Arabs has for long been regarded as the heart of Islam, though the Arabs comprise only about 20 percent of the world’s Muslim population. 30 percent of Muslims are from the Indian subcontinent, while the rest of the Muslim population lives in Asia and the West. Indonesia is home to about 13 percent of all Muslims, and it is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

In Africa, Islam is the largest population with a strong dominance in the West and North. China and Russia also have a significant number of Muslims. In America and most of Europe, Islam is the second largest religion.

Although Islam is mainly associated with countries in North Africa and the Middle East, nearly two-thirds of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. This is about 62 percent of the world’s Muslim population. According to Pew Research Center, about 344 million Muslims live in Pakistan and India, compared to 317 million Muslims living in North Africa and the Middle East.

The recent executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump that freezes immigration from seven predominantly Islamic countries affects only about 12 percent of the world’s Muslim population. The countries that were named in the ban were Iran, Libya, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen. Among these, only Iran is on the top ten 10 list of countries with the largest Muslim populations.

The highest concentration of Muslims is found in the Middle East and North Africa region, where 93 percent of the 341 million inhabitants are Muslim. 24 percent of inhabitants in Asia-Pacific region and 30 percent of the inhabitants in sub-Saharan Africa is Muslim. The Muslim community makes up a majority of the population of 49 countries of the world, with Indonesia ranking first where 87.2 percent (about 209 million) of its population confesses Islam. India comes second with 176 million Muslims, though this translates to about 14.4 percent of the country’s total population. The Pew Research Center estimates that the number of Muslims in the world will grow to 29.7 percent of the world’s population (2.76 billion) by 2050.

The number of Muslims living in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase to 24.3 percent from 15.5 percent in 2010. Asia is home to more Muslims than all regions of the world combined (61.7 percent and will continue in the same position, though the share will go down to 52.8 percent. North Africa and the Middle East are expected to maintain their share of the world’s Muslims. The number of Muslims in the U.S. expected to double, but this remains to be seen with the recent immigration ban.

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