Monday, May 13, 2013

Pew Poll on World’s Muslims

The findings from a recent Pew survey of Muslims in 39 countries around the world has initiated spirited commentary on the complications it suggests for U.S. foreign policy and managing domestic terrorism.

Muslims surveyed claim a deep commitment to their faith, that Islam is the one true faith, and it should influence political and legal matters, with significant percentages in many countries wanting sharia (traditional Islamic law) to be the official law.

Needless to say, if applied strictly, these views would produce societies in Muslim countries that many in the West would consider brutal, intolerant and generally feudal. It would also mean that the effort to promote democracy would have such significant risk as to call the strategy into question.

Analysis of the survey results will attract considerable interest and participants, but a few sign posts within the data indicate that a strict or literal application of the implications isn’t warranted.
  • Although the core beliefs attract significant adherence, there are percentages of non-adherence.
  • Religious viewpoints are nuanced with exceptions, reservations and a significant level of less intense observance.
  • Significant populations claim belief in religious freedom, support for democracy and modern scientific assumptions.
  • Although there are minorities in countries that justify terrorism, most do not, and majorities are concerned about religious extremism in their countries.

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