ISLAM has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said today.
Monsignor Vittorio Formenti, who compiled the Vatican's newly-released 2008 yearbook of statistics, said Muslims made up 19.2 per cent of the world's population and Catholics 17.4 per cent.
"For the first time in History
we are no longer at the top - the Muslims have overtaken us," Monsignor Formenti told Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, saying the data referred to 2006.
He said that if all Christian groups were considered, including Orthodox churches, Anglicans and Protestants, then Christians made up 33 per cent of the world's population - or about two billion people.
The Vatican recently put the number of Catholics in the world at 1.13 billion people. It did not provide a figure for Muslims, generally estimated at around 1.3 billion.