With an estimated population of 1.8 billion, Muslims are the world’s second-largest religious group, after Christians. But our surveys have found that about half of Americans – as well as most Western Europeans – say they know little or nothing about Islam.

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Pew Research Center has conducted more than a decade’s worth of global research on religion, including surveys of Muslims in 39 countries, three comprehensive surveys of Muslim Americans, several demographic studies of the world’s major religions (including population growth projections), and a series of surveys that measure how people living in the U.S. and Europe view Muslims and Islam.

We have drawn on this research to answer questions such as: How differently do Muslims around the globe practice their faith? What do they believe? How are they viewed in public opinion in various Western countries? How much discrimination do they face?

We now have distilled some key findings from this data into four email mini-lessons, to help interested people develop a better understanding of Muslims and Islam. Sign up, and you’ll receive an email every other day for about a week. If you want to dig deeper, the emails will offer links to work by the Center that supply more detailed information. As with all our research, it’s free. At the end, there will be a quiz to help you see what you’ve learned.

Sign up to take the course here. We hope you get a lot out of it. And please tell us what you think.

Alan Cooperman  is director of religion research at Pew Research Center.