Muslims are the fastest-growing religious group in the world. The growth and regional migration of Muslims, combined with the ongoing impact of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other extremist groups that commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, have brought Muslims and the Islamic faith to the forefront of the political debate in many countries. Yet many facts about Muslims are not well known in some of these places, and most Americans – who live in a country with a relatively small Muslim population – say they know little or nothing about Islam.
Today Nigeria, with a population of some 174 million people, is the world’s tenth-largest oil producer, pumping 2.4 million barrels a day, and has the highest gross national product in Africa. But the riches have brought neither stability nor prosperity. A series of military dictatorships siphoned off billions of dollars of oil revenue over Nigeria’s first four decades, creating a culture of corruption that permeated society.
With this election, the well-known notion of an enlightened India led by a Western-oriented urban elite has been overturned as Indians have voted to power politicians closer to their roots, politicians who represent small-town, socially conservative values.
Iraq is really three separate geographical regions, now contested by Kurds and Arabs ethnically, Arabic and Kurdish speakers linguistically, and Sunni and Shiite Muslims religiously. Ethnically Iraqis are approximately 75 percent Arabs, 20 percent Kurds, and 5 percent Turkmen and Assyrians. Religiously they are 65 percent Shiite Muslims, 30 percent Sunni Muslims, and 5 percent Christians and Mandeans.