The Pew Trust has completed a 3 year study (summary here)
of the world's Muslim population, which it estimates at 1.57 billion, nearly 1/4 of all the people on the planet. The Muslims are in good shape to make another appearance in the Religious Bowl Championship against the Christians, who remain on top, with between 2.1 and 2.2 billion members worldwide.
What is of real interest, are the individual Muslim populations by nation. The numbers seem pretty realistic for each nation compared to other estimates I have seen, with one surprise -- an estimate by Pew of the number of Muslims in France of 3.5 million (I have seen many estimates for France of about 6 million Muslims).
Pew estimates there are 2.5 million Muslims in America, 0.8% of the population. Percentage wise and in number of Muslims, China is a more Muslim nation than the US. When Barack Obama spoke in Cairo (or should we say misspoke?), he claimed that the US was one of the major Muslim nations of the world, with over 7 million Muslims. Where did he get this number? The only estimates of the Muslim population that were this high or higher (in the 7 to 10 million range) were provided by US Muslim support or lobbying groups.
Every serious study of the Muslim population in the United States available from demographers, including prior Pew studies, indicated that the US Muslim population was between 1.8 and 2.9 million. So why did Obama ignore the serious population estimates, and use the propaganda numbers?
For years, Muslim groups in the US have tried to claim that there were more Muslims than Jews in the US, so as to influence the political debate and gain media attention. The Jewish population is variously estimated as between 5.3 and 6.5 million.
So to sum up, Obama read a speech that was watched throughout the Muslim world ,and made use of a population number supplied by Muslim advocacy groups in the US that is a bald faced lie, nothing more than a propaganda tool. It tells you something, when truth does not matter at all to this President, his speechwriters, or his political handlers.