CIA Estimates: Muslims in France Outnumber Combined, Surviving Christian Populations of Syria, Iraq

Lauretta Brown | January 9, 2015 | 3:16pm EST
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A ransacked church on April 14, 2014, in the ancient Syrian village of Maaloula, where they speak Aramaic, the language Christ spoke. (AP Photo)

( – Muslims living in France now outnumber the combined, surviving Christian populations of Syria and Iraq, according to estimates published by the CIA in its World Factbook.

There are also more Muslims in France than there are people in Kuwait, or the West Bank, or Gaza.

France has a total population of 66,259,012, according to the CIA, with Muslims making up 5 percent to 10 percent of the total. At the lower-end of this range (5 percent), there would be 3,312,951 Muslims in France. At the upper-end (10 percent), there would be 6,625,901.

Iraq, according to the CIA World Factbook, has a total population of 32,585,692, with Christians making up 0.8 percent of the total—or about 260,686 individuals.

Syria, according to the World Factbook, has a population of 17,951,639, with Christians making up 10 percent of the total—or about 1,795,164 individuals.

The combined population of approximately 2,055,850 Christians who live in Syria and Iraq, according to the CIA World Factbook, is less than the minimum of 3,312,951 Muslims who live in France.

Even if the number of Muslims in France is at the low-end estimate of 5 percent (3,312,951), those Muslims outnumber the combined Christian population of Syria by about 1,257,101 individuals, or about 61 percent.

For every 3 Muslims in France there are fewer than 2 Christians in Syria and Iraq.

At the low-end range of 3,312,951, the Muslims living in France outnumber the entire populations of Oman (3,219,775), Kuwait (2,742,711), the West Bank (2,731,052), Qatar (2,123,160), the Gaza Strip (1,816,379), Bahrain (1,314,089), Djibouti (810,179).

At the upper-end range (6,625,901), there are more Muslims in France than there are people in Libya (6,244,174), Lebanon (5,882,562), and the United Arab Emirates (5,628,805).

The Christian populations of Iraq and Syria have been declining.

“[W]hile there has been voluntary relocation of many Christian families to northern Iraq, recent reporting indicates that the overall Christian population may have dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the Saddam HUSSEIN regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon,” said the CIA, based on a 2010 estimate.

“In Syria, as in much of the Middle East, the Christian presence is becoming a shadow of its former self. After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands fled the country desperate to escape the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike,” says the State Department's 2013 International Religious Freedom Report.

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