The above map (click to enlarge) displays the ten most populous Muslim nations in the world. Surprisingly enough, there is only one Mideast Arab nation highlighted on this map - Egypt - and this nation is ranked only #6 on the list. In fact, the top five Muslim nations (Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria) are not even located in the Mideast. While the vast majority of Muslim nations are Sunni Muslim, Iran (ranked #7) stands apart as the one Shiite nation on this map. Turkey (ranked #8) sits astride Europe and the Mideast -- but given its status as ethnically Turkic, Turkey stands apart from the ethnically Arab Sunni nations to its south.
Maps such as this should help us begin to dispel the myth of Islam as predominantly Arab and Mideastern.
This article, written by A. Joseph Lynch, originally appeared on the Anthropology of Accord on September 8, 2014