Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Four enduring myths about Muslims debunked

Myth #1: The Muslim population in the West is growing fast and will soon become a majority in Europe – and a major presence in other parts of the world.

The facts: Muslim population in 2012, proportionate to total population

  • Europe: 44 million (6 per cent)
  • United States: 2.6 million (0.8 per cent)
  • Canada: 940,000 (2.8 per cent)

The facts: Muslim population in 2030, proportionate to total population

Story continues below advertisement

  • Europe (including Russia): 58 million (8 per cent )
  • United States:6.2 million (1.7 per cent)
  • Canada:2.7 million (6.6 per cent)


Myth #2: Islamic beliefs lead to higher birth rates.

The facts: Fertility rates across Muslim-majority countries

  • 1995: 4.3 children per family
  • 2010: 2.9 children per family
  • 2035: 2.3 children per family

The facts: Muslim birth rates in:

  • Iran: 1.7 children
  • Turkey:2.15 children
  • United Arab Emirates: 1.9 children
  • Lebanon:1.86 children


Myth #3: Muslim immigrants are overwhelmingly guided by a religion that they regard as more an ideology than a spiritual faith.

The facts: Rates of religious activity among the 4.7 million Muslims in France, which has Western Europe's largest Muslim population

Story continues below advertisement

  • Regularly attend religious services: 8-15 %
  • Attend a mosque every Friday: 5 %
  • Claim no religious affiliation: 20 %
  • Say they never pray: 28 %
  • Support ban of hijab in classrooms: 42%


Myth #4: Significant numbers of Muslims cheer for terrorist violence.

The facts: Those who agree with the statement that "attacks on civilians are morally justified."

  • Muslims in France: 1%
  • French natives: 2%
  • Muslims in Germany: 1%
  • German natives: 0.5%
  • Muslims in Britain: 3%
  • German natives: 2%
Report an error Licensing Options
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at