The term Muslim world (or Islamic world) has several meanings. In a cultural sense, it refers to the worldwide community of Muslims, adherents of Islam. This community numbers about 1.57 billion people, roughly one-fifth of the world population. This community is spread across many different nations and ethnic groups connected by religion and a shared sense of humanity. In a historical or geopolitical sense, the term usually refers collectively to Muslim majority countries or countries in which Islam dominates politically.
The worldwide Muslim community is also known collectively as the ummah. Islam emphasizes unity and defense of fellow Muslims, although many divisions of Islam (see Sunni-Shia relations, for example) exist. In the past both Pan-Islamism and nationalist currents have influenced the status of the Muslim world.
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