Sunday, May 07, 2006

By the numbers

A "vast majority" of British Muslims get their freak on over the Mohammed Cartoons

The other day, I heard a talking head on TV saying that radical Islamists don't represent "the vast majority of Muslims". We've been hearing variations of that statement almost daily since 9/11, but just what constitutes a "vast majority"? Ninety percent? Ninety-nine percent? This got me thinking.

Depending on the source of the information, there are anywhere between 1 billion and 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Let's use the 1 billion figure. It's conservative, and the math is easier.

If just one percent of the world's Muslims are of the radical Islamist variety, that's a standing army of ten million head-choppers out there. If it's 10 percent (a number I think may be more realistic), that makes the number of head-choppers one hundred million. And if you take the figure of 1.4 billion Muslims I see quoted most often, the numbers rise to somewhere between 14 million and 140 million.

This leads us to another question: How many of that "vast majority" are of the peaceful, sign-carrying variety?

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