London, Oct.8 (ANI): Nearly one in four people in the world practises Islam, a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report has found.
The global Muslim population currently stands at 1.57 billion, according to a report billed as the most comprehensive of its kind.
According to the Daily Express, it provides a precise number for a population whose size has long has been a subject of guesswork, with estimates ranging anywhere from one billion to 1.8 billion.
The project, three years in the making, also presents a portrait of the Muslim world that might surprise some.
For instance, Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon, China has more Muslims than Syria, Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined, and Ethiopia has nearly as many Muslims as Afghanistan.
Pew officials call the report the most thorough on the size and distribution of adherents of the world's second largest religion behind Christianity, which has an estimated 2.1 billion to 2.2 billion followers.
The report provides further evidence that while the heart of Islam might beat in the Middle East, its greatest numbers lie in Asia: More than 60 percent of the world's Muslims live in Asia.
About 20 percent live in the Middle East and North Africa, 15 percent live in Sub-Saharan Africa, 2.4 percent are in Europe and 0.3 percent are in the Americas.
While the Middle East and North Africa have fewer Muslims overall than Asia, the region easily claims the most Muslim-majority countries.
While those population trends are well established, the large numbers of Muslims who live as minorities in countries aren't as scrutinised. The report identified about 317 million Muslims - or one-fifth of the world's Muslim population - living in countries where Islam is not the majority religion.
About three-quarters of Muslims living as minorities are concentrated in five countries: India (161 million), Ethiopia (28 million), China (22 million), Russia (16 million) and Tanzania (13 million). (ANI)