As world Muslim population soars, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has stated that 71% of Sierra Leoneans are Muslims. According to a new study of more than 200 countries, the number of Muslims in the world hits 1.7 billion.
This number represents about 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion people. More than 300 million Muslims, or one-fifth of the world’s Muslim population, live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion, the survey stated.
While 80% of the world’s Muslims live in countries where Muslims are in the majority, significant numbers – about one-fifth of the world’s Muslim population – live as religious minorities in their home countries. Of the roughly 317 million Muslims living as minorities, about 240 million – about three-quarters – live in five countries: India (161 million), Ethiopia (28 million), China (22 million), Russia (16 million) and Tanzania (13 million).
Sub-Saharan Africa, which includes 50 countries and territories, has about 241 million Muslims, which is about 15% of the world Muslim population.
Nigeria has the largest Muslim population in Sub-Saharan Africa, with about 78 million Muslims (about 50% of Nigeria’s total population).
Almost one-in-three Muslims (about 32%) in Sub-Saharan Africa live in Nigeria. Western Africa is the only area in Sub-Saharan Africa with a Muslim majority. In contrast, the southern part of Africa has the smallest Muslim population.
Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to a number of countries that have very large Muslim majorities. Countries with the highest percentages of Muslim populations are: Mauritania (99%), Niger (99%), Somalia (99%), Mayotte (98%), Comoros (98%), Djibouti (97%), Senegal (96%), Gambia (95%), Mali (93%), Guinea (84%) and Sierra Leone (71%).
The combined Muslim population of all these countries is about 67 million, or about 4% of the global Muslim population.