Assuming 99% of Muslims are peaceful, how many is 1%?

1% Muslims 414 x 415

When Islamic terrorists strike, there are two common reactions on social media;

People making:

  1.  “all Muslims” statements
  2. most Muslims are peaceful” statements

Taking the position that 99%* of Muslims are peaceful as based on current data from Pew Research Center, how many is 1% of Muslims and what does that number “look like” ?

Firstly, is 1% a reasonable number?

According to Pew Research Center;

“Generally, Muslims mostly say that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are rarely or never justified, including 92% in Indonesia and 91% in Iraq. In the United States, a 2011 survey found that  86%* of Muslims say that such tactics are rarely or never justified. An additional 7% say suicide bombings are sometimes justified and 1% say they are often justified in these circumstances.

* Looking at this same data from a different perspective, in 2011, 14% of Muslims in the United States said that some form of violence against civilians in the name of Islam is justified, 7% said that suicide bombings are sometimes justified and 1% said that suicide bombings are often justified in these circumstances.

“most people in several countries with significant Muslim populations have an unfavorable view of ISIS, including virtually all respondents in Lebanon and 94% in Jordan. Relatively small shares say they see ISIS favorably.

Favorable views of ISIS are somewhat higher in Nigeria (14%) than most other nations.

In a few countries, a quarter or more of Muslims say that these acts of violence are at least sometimes justified, including 40% in the Palestinian territories, 39% in Afghanistan, 29% in Egypt and 26% in Bangladesh.

* That is, 6% -71% of Muslims in the following countries or territories had a “favorable view of ISIS”: 6% of Muslims in Jordan60% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories (Gaza and the West Bank), 60% of Muslims in Afghanistan and 71% of Muslims in Egypt.

Based on the above data, 1% is a reasonably conservative estimate.

If 99% of Muslims are peaceful, how many people would make up the 1%?

  1. Based on 2010 figures, there were 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide23.4% of estimated 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

2. The annual Muslim birthrate is estimated to be 1.5% and the non-Muslim birthrate is estimated to be 0.7.

3. Based on the above data, it is estimated that in 2016 there are 1.72 Billion Muslims worldwide.

4. Assuming 99% Muslims are peaceful – how many is 1%? 

2010: 1.6 Billion Muslims worldwide
2012: 1.62 Billion Muslims worldwide
2013: 1.66 Billion Muslims worldwide
2014: 1.68 Billion Muslims worldwide
2015: 1.70 Billion Muslims worldwide
2016*: 1.72 Billion Muslims worldwide

*by 2020 (4 years from now), 1/4 (24.9%) of the world’s population of 7.7 billion people will be Muslim

 1% of 17.2 Billion Muslims worldwide = 17.2 million people

5. What does 17.2 million people “look like”? How big is that?

a. it is 12x the size of the entire active enlisted US Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard (2013 data)

b. it is almost half the size of the entire population of Canada (3rd quarter data, 2015)

Represented visually:

99% peaceful Muslims - slide 1 corrected - Canada
Assuming 99% of Muslims are peaceful – how many is 1%?

What Jihadi groups could this 1% consider supporting (financially or actively)?

Terrorist Grops 1% could support - slide 2 corrected

Assuming, as we have, that 99% of Muslims are peaceful, the number of people that would consider supporting Jihadi groups, either financially or actively is ~ 17 Million individuals.

We saw in Paris what 5 Jihadi terrorists could do. We saw in Tel Aviv what 2 Hamas operatives could do.  We saw in Orlando what 1 person with radicalized ideology could do. 17.2 Million people willing to support some form of Offensive Jihad, is a lot of people. 

If there are some people you would like to share this article – the second in this series, with here is the link:

Some Final Thoughts…

Did you know that all Muslims are permitted, even encouraged to practice something call taqiyya; which is the use of deliberate deception for the purpose of protecting the Islamic community or oneself?  If you don’t know what taqiyya is, and who both Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims are encourage to use it with, and why, please click here to read the third article in this series:

It is important to get some sense of the actual size of the Muslim population, worldwide. We often hear the claim that most Muslims are peaceful – so what if we assumed that 99% of Muslims really are peaceful; how many is 1%? The number is staggering. Please click here to read the first of this series of articles on this topic:

UPDATE: Please read this follow up article titled “Terrorism – what delineates radical Islamists from moderate Muslims”