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Muslim Poll: Most love Sharia law - but do not believe most should be forced to follow Islam

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 1st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A world wide poll conducted among the Muslim global population has yielded some amazing results. According to the Pew Forum, the overwhelming majority favor living under Sharia law - there is widespread disagreement, from country to country, about what constitutes Sharia law.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - For example, a vast majority, or three quarters of all poll respondents  in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia say they want legal issues to be resolved in Sharia courts.

This is to be expected as it's their cultural norm and religious courts probably offer "fairer" judgments than those run by local dictators or corrupt state officials. Muslims are split evenly over the extreme stuff associated with Sharia, such as dismemberment and death which gets its biggest support in South Asia. More importantly, most do not think that Sharia laws should be applied to non-Muslims.

The poll found that suicide bombing is mostly rejected. Sadly, it remains popular among sizable minorities in Palestine at 40 percent, Afghanistan at 39 percent, Egypt at 29 percent and Bangladesh at 26 percent.

More importantly and even more surprisingly, Muslims do not think other people should be compelled to follow Islam. The lowest level of support for religious freedom was found in Egypt at 77 percent and the highest in Bangladesh at 97 percent.

Immutable and unchangeable were attitudes on sexual morality. Muslims remain very conservative. Three quarters of all respondents said abortion was wrong and 80 percent said homosexuality was a sin. Majorities in every country said that wives should obey their husbands.

On the issues of headscarves, however, responses were more complex - 89 percent said "give them a choice" in Tunisia, but only 30 percent agreed in Afghanistan.

Support for democracy is high in South Asia but low in the Middle East and lowest in Pakistan. Only 54 percent back it in Iraq. Ironic, when one considers that America decided to invade and give it to them in 2003.

It's safe to conclude that Islamic attitudes are not only shaped partly by the central tenets of the faith but also by national culture and historic experience. In an area where there's been more war and more upheaval, attitudes seem to be considerably more conservative. Where there's been a longer period of peace and a more constructive experience of democracy, there's a definite liberal bent.

Whenever there is a commitment to theologically-inspired ethics surrounding sex and womanhood, there's obviously a debate sizzling away about how far these should be matters of state policy or of conscience.

Perhaps the most encouraging result from the Pew survey was the finding that Muslims are far more worried about Islamic attacks than any other kind of violence.

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