Almost two million vanish from Obama’s estimate of U.S. Muslims

June 22, 2009

dawn-front-page002

(Dawn front page for Sunday, 21 June 2009)

Almost two million people have inexplicably disappeared from the estimates of the U.S. Muslim population that President Barack Obama has given recently. In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, he spoke about “nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today.” On Sunday, the Karachi daily Dawn published an interview with him where he said “we have five million Muslims.”

There was no explanation for the change, but his reason for citing the figure seemed to be the same. Shortly before his Cairo speech, Obama told the French television channel Canal Plus that “one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” He cited no figure there but mentioned seven million in Cairo three days later.

Many blogs, FaithWorld included, questioned that figure and noted that estimates of the U.S. Muslim population range from 1.8 to 7-8 million. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot ask about religion on a mandatory basis but refers on its website to a Pew Forum study pegging Muslims at 0.6% of the population. The CIA World Factbook uses the same percentage figure. It translates into about 1.8 million.

Speaking to Dawn, Obama lowered his estimate but made his original point again. He said: “We have Muslim Americans who are doing extraordinary things. In fact, their educational attainment and income is generally above the average here in the United States. We have Muslim members of Congress. And, in fact, we have 5 million Muslims, which would make us larger than many other countries that consider themselves Muslim countries.”

The downsizing puts the U.S. even lower on the this Wikipedia list of countries according to the size of their Muslim population, from 32nd place (after Kazakhstan and before the current #32 Tajikistan) to 38th (between Chad and Turkmenistan).

In the interview, Obama also spoke a bit about his visit to Pakistan as a student in 1981 that caused some confusion and speculation in the end phase of the 2008 campaign. Dawn’s Washington correspondent Anwar Iqbal asked Obama if he planned to visit Pakistan soon and the president responded:

‘I would love to visit. As you know, I had Pakistani roommates in college who were very close friends of mine. I went to visit them when I was still in college; was in Karachi and went to Hyderabad. Their mothers taught me to cook,’ said Mr Obama.

‘What can you cook?’

‘Oh, keemadaal … You name it, I can cook it. And so I have a great affinity for Pakistani culture and the great Urdu poets.’

‘You read Urdu poetry?’

‘Absolutely. So my hope is that I’m going to have an opportunity at some point to visit Pakistan,’ said Mr Obama.

35 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

[...] via FaithWorld » Blog Archive » Almost two million vanish from Obama’s estimate of U.S. Muslims | Bl…. [...]

Election time was the time of hiding. Post-election is the time of revelation. I suspect that Obama is still a Muslim at heart if not in the head. We should expect Obama to undetake a pilgrimage sometime soon to Mecca.

Posted by Imma Okochua | Report as abusive

Since when the U.S. is a muslim country?. Is Obama saying that he is a muslim?

Posted by Ricardo | Report as abusive

Obama needs to check his facts. It looks like USA has about 1.5 million muslins not 7 or even 5 million! Why does a USA President make these statements?

TO poster Ricardo. Barack Hussien Obama is half Islamic by his father. He brags about his heritage!

What’s the big deal? Islam is one of the many religions on this planet. Whe should stop stigmatising and start harmonising.

Just a reminder to the people who are pulling the polital strings at the moment, many of you are products of the flowerpower generation but it seems that you’ve forgotten the most important slogan of that time. Make love not War.

what a world to live in, a USA president who never reveals who he is before the election and who thinks the american people are still with him now that the truth is coming out

Posted by derr | Report as abusive

Nikkei, In theory, you are correct, but if you actually study Islam’s basic philosophy, Islam is not really a very peaceful religion. And this shows constantly: suicide terrorist bombings occur on a daily basis, with very little public outrage by the so-called “mainstream” of Islam. Seems there is not so much disagreement with the nasties. How can one “love” such people?

Posted by Dave J | Report as abusive

I agree with nikkei 225. Muslims are monotheists as are Jews, Protestants and Catholics. Why not count them as part of the same category of believers?

Posted by PB | Report as abusive

Big deal, he has been to Pakistan and has Muslim heritage. What difference does it make. There are hundreds of religions in the world yet Americans seem to have this fear of Islam, I never hear discussions about other faiths, why? If Mr Obama is Muslim, he has done a great job of hiding it even before he was elected.
With 9 billion of us on the planet we need to get over religion and the divisions it is causing between us, and work toward solving our problems. This could begin with some Americans accepting that this president is different and that yee-ha is not a foreign policy. Also one poster mentions about pilgrimages to mecca, seems a little childish to me.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

Suicide is forbidden in Islam. So, rationally suicide bombing is also forbidden. And Killing innocent people is also not allowed in Islam just like in Christianity and Judaism. I really don’t know how to describe these terrorists. Please try to see the light read the holy scriptures.

Posted by Yasin | Report as abusive

Can Obama be considered half Muslim just because his mom once married an Indonesian who is Muslim?

Posted by Mags | Report as abusive

SOON AMERICA OR USA WILL NOT BE CALLED THAT IT WILL BE CALLED THE LEAGUE OF ALL NATIONS NO MORE AMERICA AND USA

Islam has fooled many people including the Muslims. Islam isn’t a religion, but an ideology like Nazism or Communism. Islam is a very wicked ideology. The Muslim documents, especially the Qur’an and Hadith, are replete with violent passages. I’ll quote only two of hundreds:

1. “Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah,” (Sura 8 Verse 39 of the Qur’an). 2. “The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah’s enemy,”(Sura 8 Verse 59).

Obama is just another muslim appeasing western politician. If he keeps up with this spineless appeasement he and his country shall soon come to teriible grief.

Posted by Mathew | Report as abusive

Hey all you Obams supporters! Now that you know that Obama is Muslim and considers the USA a Muslim state, does this dovetail into the hopey/change thing you were all so excited about?
We still do not know for sure if this guy is even an American citizen!!! He is changing the USA for the worst for ever people! I hope you are all OK with all of this because it is happening in real time.

Posted by JonR | Report as abusive

Hussein Obama is creeping (bowing and scraping)closer and closer to the Islamic world.
As an American, my conclusion is as follows: WE ARE DOOMED !!

Posted by mike caton | Report as abusive

The 7m figure probably comes from the C.A.I.R. They commissioned a study a couple of years ago that came up with a number of 6m using a decidedly shaky methodology. (This is about the number of US Jews.) Shortly thereafter their spokespeople interviewed on TV started using the inflated number of 7m, repeating it often for effect.

The true number is probably considerably lower, but Mr. Obama seems to be well up on CAIR talking points.

Posted by Brad Brezezinski | Report as abusive

I knew as soon as I read the blog title that the muslim-hating neocons would come out of their cockroach nests, seems half the posters on this blog suit my assumptions.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

All of you anti-Muslim Chicken Littles need to get over yourselves. Barack Obamam is not a Muslim, has never been a Muslim and will very likely never become a Muslim. Religion, of any type, is not born in one’s DNA. His father was an atheist from a Muslim family and was not a believing or practicing Muslim. Your attempts to smear Pres. Obama by calling him a Muslim is actually very thinly veiled bigotry and hatred. If you truly love our country you will do what you can to help build it back up and stop trying to tear it down by smearing our duly elected President. And by the way Muslim Americans are just as American as everyone else! We contribute greatly to the health, wealth and greatness of this country every day!

Posted by Karenjane | Report as abusive

Maybe the 2 million converted to Christianity, or went underground to live for a while.

Posted by Frank | Report as abusive

As a Christian American I can say that I’ve never had any problem with Muslims here in America. Its because they behave like civilized people. These animals around the world that spend their lives spreading hate gives people the wrong impression about an entire religion. You have to wonder if they realize how bad they make themselves look?

Posted by Richyrich | Report as abusive

Why are some gullible people still clinging to Obama’s LIE that he has never been a Muslim. He was born to a foreign Muslim father adopted by a foreign Muslim stepfather attended two schools in Indonesia registered as a Muslim one of which was a Catholic run Multi Faith school. At school he took ‘Koranic Studies’ and ‘mengagi’ the study of correctly accented Koranic Arabic a subject ONLY taken by devout Muslims. In Indonesia only Muslims take Koranic Studies by Law and if they tried to force Christian children to do so there would be riots and blood on the streets. Indonesian Christians have be oppressed and persecuted by Muslims for decades so are rightfully extremely sensitive and protective. Obama himself ADMITS he took Koranic Studies when he tells the story of being ‘chastised by the teacher for pulling faces in Koranic studies’ in his book. So there you have it not only was/is Obama a Muslim he is also a LIAR.

Posted by Pragmatist | Report as abusive

I am amazed at the total ignorance of Islam being expressed by posters on here especially the Americans. Islam is a totalitarian cult which is a complete control system designed to govern your whole life. Once Islam becomes a controlling reality in any country Sharia Law is introduced and freedom goes. Al Queda do not misunderstand Islam and become terrorists Al Queda are terrorists because of Islam and they not the ‘so called’ slow Jihad moderates are the true Muslims it is the moderates who misunderstand Islam. Just read the Koran its all there. Once you get past all the repetition and disorganisation the misogyny, anti semitism, calls to perpetual violence,Arab supremacism its all there.

Posted by Pragmatist | Report as abusive

The manipulation of statistics is common practice by politicians everywhere. In this case fraudulent figures have been quoted but even if there were 7 million muslims in the US that doesn’t at all make them one of the largest muslim countries in the world.
It requires a percentage figure to mean anything and while the US is less than 1% muslim even the smallest true muslim countries will have a much higher percentage of muslims. You don’t even need to know exact figures to know that what you’re saying is completely misleading, how stupid does he think the arab world is?

There’s a fantastic book called “Confessions of an economic hitman” written by a man who’s job was to manipulate statistics, as standard practice, in a misleading way to convince usually third world or developing countries into accepting horrendous loans for infrastructure projects on behalf of US multinational organizations like the World Bank and IMF. It outlines from a career perspective the long history of US agents aggressively misleading the world for imperialistic, economic gains.

This kind of language is absolutely nothing new, as we most recently saw in its most blatant light in the propaganda campaign for the invasion of Iraq.

When it comes to facts and figures, westerners don’t realize how susceptible they are to being mislead in the translation of figures into facts. We receive an implication from polls without even being provided the basic information that makes a poll relevant, like how many people were surveyed and in what area. Further what options were given on the survey and how they effect the outcome of choices?

In the end I doubt Obama will be able to paint a picture pretty enough, even with the most accomplished communications staff at his disposal, to negate all the damage done to the muslim world in the last 40 years, and the fact that US culture is horrendously at odds with everything muslim.

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Now we are a muslim country?

stay tune … more to come

Posted by Andy | Report as abusive

Pragmatist,
I don’t agree with Obama on anything he’s done politically but your argument doesn’t hold up. I went to a catholic school for 3 years and my parents forced me to go to Sunday school until I was 14. I went through baptism, confirmation, reconciliation, the whole 9 yards.

I’m an agnostic, looking at what children were forced to do when they’re preteens and elementary age is silly and foolish.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

There are no evil religions, rotten apples are to be found in any religion and society, its how people act that makes the difference. There’s only good and bad people and religion has got very little to do with it.

If republicans took the time they spend researching obscure facts about Obama’s childhood, and instead used it to study science, we would no doubt have viable nuclear fusion by now.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I always wonder we talk about christianity as riligion of peace and Islam as violent and backward are we kidding our self or we close our eye to fact in last 2000 yrs christians have murdered more christians ,jew, muslims, buddhist and other and that is historical fact

Posted by IKMO | Report as abusive

What happen to my post?? Spoofed again???
I read about IslamoFascism all day but as soon as I put the word Zionism next to Nazism and the hold thing goes poof…

Philip,
Have read the Bible? The section about how The chosen people beat the Palestine kids against the walls, as the children of Moses occupied their land?

Posted by TheChosenOne | Report as abusive

To invite iranian ambassadors(who belong to the mollahcracy ) to the 4th july independancy party is an insult to freedom and to democracy !an insult for your soldiers fighting in Afghanistan and Irak ! insult for all american soldiers dead in Europa and Asia during the 2nd world war for freedom !insult for young iranian people killed !….
Mollah system basis are similar to nazi system ! shame to those who takes sides with the devil !

Posted by roger | Report as abusive

For Obama to proclaim the number of American Muslims at 7 million one day, then 5 million another (when it actually only about 1.8 million), and to make such blatantly false proclamations about the historical contributions of Islam, while totally overlooking the 1400 years of Islamic terror, simply proves that:

1) he is willfully & consciously lying
2) he is dangerously ignorant
3) he has incompetent advisors, or
4) he is manipulating the numbers & trying to rewrite history to support some kind of hidden pro-Islamic agenda.

Any of these conditions are totally unacceptable. Obama needs to be questioned vigorously about this.

His perfidy, ignorance, incompetence, but most importantly his agenda must be exposed.

Whether Obama is a Muslim or not, as some think, is irrelevant – he is clearly a pro-Islamist sympathizer.

I do not trust this man. I think he is a pathological liar.

~ The Infidel Alliance

Posted by Infidel Alliance | Report as abusive

So the whole of the US 1,8 million has about the same number of muslims as The Netherlands well above 1 million . The US has al littele more. 0,6 % in the US vs 6% muslims in the Netherlands. (a country with 16,5 Million persons )
I from the Netherlands can say to you, you have to do what you can to keep the number of births low. We in about 10 to 20 years saw our country change for the worse. We als had about 1 procent muslims 20 years ago but high birthnumers and a very very high immigration changed that forever. The concentrate near Amsterdam en Rotterdam the 2 biggest cities and other big cities like Utrecht and so on. There are parts, no go area’s where the population wel exceeds 50 60 % (and sometimes even 80%) People move out from the cities to suburbs to live in better places and while the numbers grow also the type of muslims change. First moderate, now where the are in a majority very extreme.. A littele vid..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFX YU
I from Europe, from the Netherlands, from Amsterdam hope you don’t make the same mistakes we did..

Posted by seven | Report as abusive

I know the term “ISLAMIC WORLD WAR” is controversial, but let’s look at the facts:

Islam against
- the Hindus in India
- the Catholics in the Philippines
- the Buddhists in Thailand
- the Jews in Israel, Yemen, Iran & even S. America (wherever Jews exist)
- the Coptic Christians in Egypt
- the Christians and animists in the Sudan
- the Christians in N. Nigeria
- the Chaldean Christians in Iraq
- the Zoroastrians In Iran
- the athiests in formerly Christian Europe
- the Christians in Indonesia
- infidel schoolchildren in Beslan, Russia
- infidel Australian tourists in Hindu Bali
- train commuters in Spain
- tube riders in London
- “infidel” U.S. Embassies in Kenya & Tanzania
- office workers in New York
- freedom of speech at the U.N.
- schoolgirls in Afghanistan
- Christian schoolgirls in Indonesia (ambushed & decapitated)
- homosexuals in Iran, Iraq & everywhere they exist
- women
- Polish & Korean engineers (beheaded)
- authors (Salman Rushdie & his death fatwa)
- movie producers (Theo van Gogh brutally slaughtered)
- parked cars in Paris
- Islam against everything we stand for

- Rising Islamist movement in “secular” Turkey
- Rising Islamist movement “democratic” nuclear armed Pakistan
- Rising Islamist movement in “modern, moderate” Malaysia
- Rising Islamist movement in Algeria

The ISLAMIC WORLD WAR. It’s real.

~ The Infidel Alliance

Posted by Infidel Alliance | Report as abusive

Hey Karenjane – You couldn’t be more misguided. As one of the previous posters wrote- read the quran it’s all there.
Muslims are not american.

They are muslim first and muslim only. They have no desire to “become american” and accept american values and ethics.

To a muslim, american is indeed the great satan and muslims are duty bound to make america (and the whole world) a muslim country: A muslim country NOT founded on the principles of liberty and freedom, but a muslim country founded on the principles of submission and dominance.

You scoff at the “great satan” remark I’m sure. Because you apply Judeo-Christian values to a group of people who have no such values, and devoutly believe that satan is not some guy with horns but is actually a group of people – that group is anyone non muslim. Satan is real to them and not “just a story meant to keep children in line”.

Satan is you.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive