10.08.2009

A surprising Muslim world

I am a daughter of the Deep South, and I can attest that not all white Southerners are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Sometimes the concentrated focus on the worst in any group leads to the belief that the entire group is bad. Isn’t this the basis of prejudice?

In my opinion, one in every four persons in the world is getting a bad rap. Not all Muslims are fanatical, America-hating killers.

With this in mind, a survery caught my attention early this morning as I scanned CNN headlines.

An intensive study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life concludes there are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, and approximately 9 out of 10 are Sunni.

By contast there are 2.2 billion Christians in the world population of 6.8 billion. It’s pretty apparent to me and should be to you that the future of this planet depends on these two groups learning to coexist peacefully.

What makes the Pew study results so fascinating is the location of the world's Muslims.

CNN reporter Richard Allen Greene writes:

“India, a majority-Hindu country, has more Muslims than any country except for Indonesia and Pakistan, and more than twice as many as Egypt.

“China has more Muslims than Syria.

“Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon.

“And Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya put together.

“Nearly two out of three of the world's Muslims are in Asia, stretching from Turkey to Indonesia.

“The Middle East and north Africa, which together are home to about one in five of the world's Muslims, trail a very distant second.”

The Pew research team analyzed data from 232 countries and territories over a three-year period.

The CNN article addresses the implications on U.S. policy in light of the surprising population distribution. A brief article highly recommended: LINK

17 comments:

Frodo, no Hobbit left behind, said...

Remember the Uighurs? They are Sunni Muslims from the western provinces of China, who struggle against the rule of the Han Buddhists. All of the lands to the West from Kazakhstan to whatever are predominantly Sunni, and you don't really hit any Shi'ia until you get to Iran and Iraq. That is a lot of geography.

Frodo once remarked that the foolishness of the Neo-con philosophy was that one could proceed due East from the Mediterranean Sea to the Yellow Sea and, until post-World War II, never pass through a single location where an election had ever been held. That is a lot of human history.

So very much of our small, blue planet consists of people and places we simply do not understand. Whose fault is that?

Ranch Chimp said...

Of coarse Ms.BJ you should already have my enail...and I am going to do a post on this as well.

Thank You..........

Infidel753 said...

And Russia has more Muslims than Jordan and Libya put together.

Actually, it doesn't, although this is a common claim.

I also wouldn't be too impressed with any source that apparently doesn't realize Turkey is in the Middle East.

Sue said...

yes we do need to live side by side without fear of muslims. Wasn't it GW Bush who claimed God told him and his army to go to Iraq and rid that part of the world of muslims??

B.J. said...

I-753: I am sure the Pell researchers who spent three years on this project know the location of Turkey. The quote is from the CNN reporter and does say “from Turkey” which might mean from its border and not include it. I would give the Pew researchers the benefit of the doubt here.

Can you cite the source of your claim that the Russian statistics are wrong?

I have read your blog posts on Islam and realize you see this as a religious matter from the perspective of atheism. I see this from the perspective of a Christian, so, quite naturally, our opinions on the Muslim world will be quite different. Not right. Not wrong. Just different.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

BJ

Infidel753 said...

Can you cite the source of your claim that the Russian statistics are wrong?

See the posting I linked, which discusses the results of an in-depth study of religion in Russia.

The same flaw is widespread in claims of the numbers of adherents of various religions. Most such claims count almost everyone in Europe as Christian unless they are Muslim or Jewish, for example, even though most Europeans aren't religious in any meaningful sense. They are just trying to shove whole populations into easy categories that don't reflect reality.

In a place like Iran, for example, it's probably impossible to get any kind of reliable data about what percentage of the population is really believing Muslims, even though I've seen evidence that suggests many Iranians are not religious, or not very.

B.J. said...

I-753: I missed the link, because …

Comments are emailed to me. I cannot see emails because the font is too small, so I copy and paste them to Microsoft Word where the font is bigger. In doing so with your comment Word eliminated the link and only copied the words that began your statement. Sorry.

I have not yet read your post, and I assume you cite sources in it. I am so sorry but I cannot see things from your perspective, just as you cannot see them from mine. I can only say that I do not want the religions of the world to “die out,” and it is very hard for me to read excitement over that prospect.

I’m just being honest here, and I sure don’t want to get into an Atheism v. Christianity discussion. I have friends and relatives who are Atheists. I respect them as long as they give me the same courtesy.

I don’t think I’m making myself clear. I welcome your opinion here and want my Comments Zone to be a free forum. I just have to tell you how I feel. I do appreciate your reading and commenting.

BJ

B.J. said...

I-753: I read your blog post and checked out all your source links. It’s really just poll v. poll, isn’t it?

For the benefit of DemWit readers, here is the English translation of the headline and lede of the Izvestia article cited by I-753 and dated 12/26/06:

RELIGIOSITY ON THE RISE IN RUSSIA

In 2006, 15 years after the fall of the atheist Soviet Union, 84 percent of Russian citizens said they believed in God, according to a study conducted by Izvestia and the polling agency, VTsIOM. A similar VTsIOM poll in the early 1990’s found that 34 percent believed in God. Among respondents, 63 percent considered themselves Orthodox Christians, 6 percent were Muslims and 1 percent Catholics and Buddhists. Another 16 percent said they were atheist. The percentage of Russians who attend religious services has grown from 4 percent during perestroika to 10-12 percent today.

BJ

Infidel753 said...

I have read your blog posts on Islam and realize you see this as a religious matter from the perspective of atheism.

I should point out that I also see it from the perspective of a specialist. Islam was my field of both undergraduate and graduate study at university, though I ended up leaving academia for personal reasons rather than going on to work in the field.

As for the posting I linked and the sources it cites, I'd invite anyone who's interested to read it and judge for themselves.

I don’t think I’m making myself clear. I welcome your opinion here and want my Comments Zone to be a free forum. I just have to tell you how I feel. I do appreciate your reading and commenting.

Don't worry, you've always been welcoming. The main reason I didn't comment for a a long while recently was a hand injury that makes it difficult to type. Also, I generally try to avoid launching into disagreements with people on their own blogs, but I see this particular error about Russia cited all the time and couldn't help pointing it out.

Complaint Department Manager said...

Christianity just may get its conservative butt handed to itself. The Muslim religion demands order and that's what a lot of individuals in that part of the world look for, that and peace. They don't like the fact that there are extremists that have hijacked the religion for their own radical purposes.

The Taliban, even with all their savage flaws, provided infrastructure(built schools, ran plumbing, etc..) to an unorganized area and the locals remember that even with their beyond strict methods. And what has the U.S. done besides occupy it? We're not indiginous to the area and all we're going to do is eventually leave. Do we really expect these people will have any faith in us? Who would?

B.J. said...

FOR THE RECORD:

I am Christian. I am a liberal. I think Jesus’ ministry was liberal. I believe in evolution, however embarrassing that might be to the apes. I do NOT think the world is 6,000 years old. (I don't put time constraints on God. I support a woman’s right to choose. I wholeheartedly believe in separation of church and state. I am not anti-war, but I am anti-wrong war.

I-753: Hope your hand is better! Thanks for your comments. Anyone interested in reading Infidel753’s post on Russian Muslims should click on the link in his first comment above.

To CDM: We aided the Mujahideen in ousting the Soviets. We missed a golden opportunity by not then rebuilding Afghanistan’s schools and infrastructure. That country is the very definition of “war-torn.” I don’t know what the solution is! I have an image from that country that has stayed with me.
Before she was sacked for speaking out against the Iraq War, MSNBC’s rising star Ashleigh Banfield was riding all over Afghanistan in the back of a pickup truck giving us firsthand reports. She interviewed a shepherd with his sheep in a mountainous rural area, and the guy spoke in fluent English! English! A shepherd! Do we speak their language? They all speak English!

BJ

Complaint Department Manager said...

"I think Jesus’ ministry was liberal."


Thou shall NOT speak against the teachings of the Neocon bible!!! Shame on you!


*snickers, and runs away*

Sue said...

BJ I have been horribly criticized for saying I am a Christian and a liberal. I believe in a womans right to choose, I am anti-war, a peace-maker, a protester, a semi-radical :-)). It's my perogative!!

the Christian right will not accept you saying you are a liberal Christian, they can not fathom it!

I judge no one, I leave the judging to God!

Tiny said...

One of Tiny's best friends was an Egyptian Muslim, a very devout one. However, the Muslim have the spiritual Sufi teachings, which goes beyond the literal teachings of the sacred writings. Every religion has their spiritual VS literal teachers and followers.

There is validity in all religions which is where each individual has their own concept of a Higher Ground of Being, regardless of the name they use for their Diety, or no diety.

BJ, a lot of countries speak better English than people in this country. And you are correct in pointing out that very few in this country speak more than one language, our native English, which we slaughter most of the time.

Wasn't it just a few years ago that scientists stated that everything and everyone in the universe is made up of about 99%, or more, of the same cosmic material? Tiny thinks all we have to do is look around to see that evolution is a fact. Everything and everyone is in a constant state of change.

So does it really matter who believes or does not believe a particular religious teaching? Everyone is at their own stage of growth and understanding, just as we are in our physical growth.

We don't expect a first grader to understand the same concepts of a tenth grader. The same principle applies to religions.People who attend the same church aren't going to have the esact same same concepts.

Each person interprets on their own level of comprehension. The same goes for reading the same book. Each will interpret from their own understanding and experience.

But when it comes to war and peace, most, if not all, people prefers to live in peace with our fellow human beings. Unless, of course, a large portion of the population has more love for money than they have for human life.

Screeeeeeech! That noise is Tiny pushing her soap box back into its corner.

Tiny said...

Oophs! Tiny has a typo--exact VS esact.

Anonymous said...

B.J.,

Of course you are broadminded! I know it hurts your heart to know that I am an atheist. Not because you are right, and I am wrong, but because you want the best for me. I have never felt like my opinion doesn't count with you.

The only check that you give to all of your readers and commenters is mutual respect. I totally feel respected and loved by you. I have such a great time living this life. I have had struggles and triumphs both as a Christian and as a non-Christian. I never really know where life will take me, but it is amazing at how different and fulfilling it can be.

I see nothing wrong with your passion. I would, in fact, love to sit with you face to face and talk about all of this. The only thing keeping us from that is distance. I would not be able to do that with someone who is not broadminded.

Much Love,
Phillip

Falzone for a Liberal America! said...

Wow! Lot's of comments.

Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the Earth. That which thou would do unto the lowliest of thy neighbors thou doest unto me.

The Bible is chuck full of assertions and teachings that Conservatives cannot possibly live up to without becoming Liberals.