January 11, 2014
hISTORY eNDS EVERYWHERE:
Muslim majorities open to democracy, but cautious (OMAR SACIRBEY, 1/11/13, Religion News Service)
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2014 8:08 AMMore than half the people surveyed in Turkey and Tunisia and nearly half in conservative Saudi Arabia said women should choose what they wear outside their homes, but majorities in all three countries also said women should wear headscarves in public. [...]The report, which surveyed people in Egypt, Iraq and Pakistan, too, offered surprising findings on attitudes toward secular government, religious tolerance and attitudes toward Americans.Large majorities of people in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey said their country would be better off if religion and government were separated. In Pakistan, only 9 percent of people said the country would be better off with church-state separation, while no results were available in Saudi Arabia.In all seven countries, overwhelming majorities said that democracy, which was not defined, is the best form of government. At the same time, strong majorities in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, as well as half of Iraqis, said government should implement Shariah (Islamic law), a view shared by only 20 percent to 27 percent of people in Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey."These numbers tell us that people want democracy, but they don't want a democracy that is antithetical to religion -- they don't want a democracy where religion has no role," said Ebrahim Moosa, a professor of religion and Islamic studies at Duke University.People in the West and in Muslim countries have very different notions of what Shariah, or Islamic law means, too, Moosa said. While Westerners think of Shariah as a harsh penal code, many Muslims think of it as justice, equality, fairness.
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