SAUDI ARABIA IS 93% MUSLIM. BUT IT IS MORE DIVIDED THAN IT APPEARS.
1. Less than 2% of the world’s Muslim live in Saudi Arabia, where the religion was founded by Mohammed in the 600s.
2. With 1.6 billion adherents worldwide, Islam is the world’s second-largest religion — accounting for 23% of the world’s population (as of 2010).
3. Saudi Arabia’s 25.5 million Muslim population is, in fact, only slightly more than the number of Muslims in China (24.7 million).
4. While Saudi Arabia’s Muslims represent 93% of the country’s population, Muslims in China represent just 1.8% of that country’s population.
5. Saudi Arabia’s Muslim population is, in fact, only the 16th-largest in the world.
6. The kingdom’s Muslim population is about ten times smaller than that of Indonesia, the world’s most-populous Muslim-majority nation.
7. About 85% of Saudi Arabia’s Muslims are Sunnis, including just-deceased King Abdullah and the Saud ruling family, and the other 15% are Shiites.
8. Since the Arab Spring of 2011, attempts by Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority to gain greater economic and political rights have been thwarted – sometimes violently – by the Sunni-controlled government.
9. This sectarian dispute has brought the ruling family into increasing conflict with Shiite groups such as Hezbollah and ISIS and Shiite-dominated governments in Iran.