Magazine article Insight on the News

The Muslim Numbers Game Is Subject to Fuzzy Math. (News Alert!)

Magazine article Insight on the News

The Muslim Numbers Game Is Subject to Fuzzy Math. (News Alert!)

Article excerpt

As the debate continues over the precise number of Muslims residing legally or illegally in the United States, other Western countries are attempting the same thing. Germany has a better idea than many of its neighboring countries, but that hasn't satisfied some members of the Bundestag. Given the al-Qaeda cells in Hamburg and elsewhere in Germany, the Muslim population there is an issue of concern for law-enforcement officials and, of late, German politicians.

In the United States, the most commonly cited population figure for resident Muslims is 6 million to 7 million. But this number is dubious, notes Howard Fienberg, a senior analyst with the Statistical Assessment Service. "Because the U.S. government may not collect religious data, reliable estimates are hard to find," Fienberg tells INSIGHT. He also cautions about crediting such data from other countries.

Statistical murkiness causes credible guesstimates of Muslims in the United States to vary from 1 million to 7 million, though Fienberg thinks the number is close to 2 million. …

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