Opponents call Trump's Executive Order a "Muslim" ban.

Does it ban all Muslims? Clearly, no.

But what percentage of 1.7 billion of the world's Muslims are affected?

(I would accept a rough approximation, but I prefer more exact numbers, e.g. taking into account that Green Card holders and citizens of US aren't included even if they were born in the seven countries named in the Execitive order)

  • 3
    Wouldn't the more interesting question be whether the ban disproportionally affects muslims compared to other religions or non-believers?
    – user164
    Jan 30, 2017 at 20:54
  • Is y this really just a math question? Add up th populations.
    – user1530
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:39
  • @blip - read the last paragraph. It's not so simple
    – user4012
    Jan 30, 2017 at 22:07
  • 4
    Related: Trump's assessor Rudy Guiliani affirming to journalist(?) that the Trump's alleged focus on security is just a red herring and that the primary intention was to ban Muslims and security just a convenient excuse: youtu.be/B_KPOqPGoxU?t=431
    – SJuan76
    Feb 3, 2017 at 15:25
  • 1
    This is a bad question because it misrepresents who is calling it a muslim ban. To quote: "Donald J Trump is calling for a total and complete shut down of Muslims entering the United States until our countries representatives can figure out what is going on. We have no choice."
    – Michael
    Mar 9, 2017 at 21:37

4 Answers 4


From the wikipedia page of those countries:

Syria. Population 23 million, Muslim population 21 million (90%)

Iran. Population 77 million, Muslim population more than 76 million (>99%)

Iraq. 38 millions, Muslim population 36 million (95%)

Yemen 25 millions, almost all Muslim.

Libya. Population a little more than 6 millions, Muslim population 6 millions (97% muslim)

Sudan. Population 40 million, Muslim population 39 million (97%)

Somalia. Population 12 million, almost all muslims (99.7%).

Total 215 millions, that is about 12.5% of the total muslim population of 1.7 billion (your figure)

  • 2
    Excluding the green card holders as you suggest will change by something which is in the margin of error, I don't think it is worth it.
    – Joël
    Jan 30, 2017 at 19:20
  • +1 but i'll wait with accepting in hopes someone has a better precision answer counting the "margin of error" :)
    – user4012
    Jan 30, 2017 at 19:21
  • 2
    These population figures do not include expatriates with nationality of the affected country, or former nationals, who may also be affected by the ban. That must add up to at least another million or two.
    – phoog
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:11
  • 2
    @phoog "A million or two" is about 0.1% in the final figure - It will be lost in rounding.
    – Sjoerd
    Feb 14, 2017 at 11:12
  • 1
    This is a bad answer because it's not really people "affected". On the one hand, there are many muslims living in those countries who would never even think of visiting the US. It's hard to say they are "affected" if they weren't going to travel. On the other hand there are people indirectly affected. For example familes who no longer get money sent from the USA. For example Americans with a Muslim doctor. You might give a better calculation based on the contacts of all the people who would travel but won't. More important and difficult is people affected by hearing about the ban.
    – Michael
    Mar 9, 2017 at 21:48

The question is the wrong way round, in a way. It isn't about the proportion of Muslims worldwide who are affected. I'll try to show why by crude analogy.

Suppose I pass a law that says all (women/Jews/Chinese) are to have a law apply just to them. We would clearly agree that was racist/sexist, even if only a tiny proportion of women/Jews/Chinese worldwide were affected. So the proportion of a group affected doesn't mean much when deciding if a law is discriminatory. So we can't say a ban on these countries is/isn't racist by calculating the % of Muslims worldwide affected. It just isn't a relevant calculation.

Russia arrests a human rights lawyer or protester, and we decide that is a human rights violation, we don't work out how many lawyers or protesters aren't arrested to figure that out. So again, comparing how many are/aren't affected doesn't tell us if an action is discriminatory.

In the US, the supreme court has long upheld that "a tax on yalmukas [a Jewish head covering] is a tax on Jews" - a ban on a Muslim country may well be "seen through" as a ban on Muslims, by long standing US law. The distinction between banning predominantly Muslim countries' citizens, and banning Muslims, is not a distinction with much weight in US law.

You need to look at what proportion of that country's citizens are Muslims, what proportion of those affected are Muslims compared to what proportion of visitors in general are Muslims, and so on. Those will be more helpful percentages.

  • 3
    However, the point is that these countries were independently determined to be terrorist countries whose majority are persecuting the minority religions who live in them. The fact that this majority who are doing the persecuion is Mulim, does not automatically make the order anti-Muslim. In fact obviously any country in which a majority persecutes a minority can be said to be anti (whatever the majority happens to be). In any case, this does not answer the question. Feb 9, 2017 at 21:46
  • 1
    No, but the question aims to show Muslims aren't disproportionately affected, but that percentage is the wrong question if you want to assess that point. Legally its also not enough under US law to say "X is a terrorist country" when passing a law that disproportionately affects people of some "protected characteristic" (e.g. gender/religion); the government has to show it has taken all steps to minimise impact on non terrorist persons if they have other rights ("scrutiny"), and clearly this wasn't done. So both the mathematical "its a small number" and the legal basis, were flawed arguments.
    – Stilez
    Feb 10, 2017 at 9:11
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    Actually, as Washington argued in the 9th Circuit, if the motivation for the order was animus towards Muslims then the order is illegal. It is not necessary to show that the order affects all Muslims, nor to show that it affects only Muslims. If the motivation for the order was security, then the scrutiny of the order's impact and so on will be necessary.
    – phoog
    Feb 14, 2017 at 7:26

Populations (approx in millions, sourced from Google)

Iraq: 33

Syria: 22

Iran: 77

Sudan: 38

Libya: 6

Somalia: 10

Yemen: 24

Total: 210

That means that approximately 210 million people are subject to these restrictions. Note that technically the restrictions are location based and not religion based. However, all of these countries are over 90% Muslim, so the vast majority of the 210 million are Muslim.

Also worth noting that also subject to these restrictions are people in various forms of US residency who are returning from these countries. However, numerically these people do not significantly change the 210 million number.

  • Also affected are citizens of these countries who live in other countries (US and otherwise), who are therefore not included in these population figures. Surely that must add up to at least a million or two.
    – phoog
    Jan 30, 2017 at 21:12
  • @phoog Million or two sounds too large for me, but even if we assume that it would still be not even 1% Jan 30, 2017 at 21:36

I'm politically center-right and I support the ban. But I'll try to answer this from a more moderate perspective:

The Wall Street Journal used the term "broad" when trying to state the negatives of Trump's ban. This was referring to how Non-Muslims would also get swept up by the visa restriction.

These "Muslim-Majority" nations also have Non-Muslim minorities, who often come other ethno-religious backgrounds - such as Jews. These people would also be unable to apply for visas to the United States even-though they don't come from a Muslim background.

So I agree that this ban does not ban all Muslims, and that it does affect Non-Muslims. I'd think that if I started equating Indians to Hindus, these same left-wingers would also start to kick up a fuss.

EDIT: I'll add in statistics to satisfy nitpickers bent on taking the question literally:

Around 13% of Muslims will be covered by the ban, but it's expected that those who would be actually affected by the ban would only number around 90.000.


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