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Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the population at 2.8 million (July 2016 estimate). The Public Authority for Civil Information (PACI), a local government agency, reports there are 1.3 million citizens and 3 million noncitizens. The national census does not distinguish between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Estimates derived from voting records and personal status documents indicate approximately 70 percent of citizens, including the ruling family, adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. In the November elections, voting records reflected 14 percent Shia voter participation rate. A few hundred Christians and some Bahais are citizens.

According to PACI, among the noncitizen residents, approximately 28 percent are Christians, 5 percent are Shia, and a larger, although unknown, percentage are Sunni. There are an estimated 2 percent noncitizen Hindus and an estimated 3 percent Buddhists, as well as 10,000 Sikhs and 400 Bahais.

While some areas have high concentrations of either Sunnis or Shia, there is relatively even distribution of the two groups throughout most of the country.

International Religious Freedom Reports
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future