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MUSLIM WORLD: Poll shows majority want Islam in politics; feelings mixed on Hamas, Hezbollah

Meccaminihaj7 A majority of Muslims around the world welcome a significant role for Islam in their countries' political life, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center, but have mixed feelings toward militant religious groups such as  Hamas and Hezbollah.

According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace.

Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Jordan were among the most enthusiastic, with more than three-quarters of Muslims polled in those countries reporting positive views of Islam's influence in politics: either that Islam had a large role in politics, and that was a good thing, or that it played a small role, and that was bad.

Turkish Muslims were the most conflicted, with just more than half reporting positive views of Islam's influence in politics. Turkey has struggled in recent years to balance a secular political system with an increasingly fervent Muslim population.

Many Muslims described an ongoing struggle in their country between fundamentalists and modernizers, especially those who may have felt threatened by the rising tides of conservatism. Among those respondents who identified a struggle, most tended to side with the modernizers. This was especially true in Lebanon and Turkey, where 84% and 74%, respectively, identified themselves as modernizers as opposed to fundamentalists.

In Egypt and Nigeria, however, most people were pulling in the other direction. According to the poll, 59% in Egypt and 58% in Nigeria who said there was a struggle identified with the fundamentalists.

Despite an overall positive view of Islam's growing role in politics, militant religious organizations such as  Hamas and Hezbollah spurred mixed reactions. Both groups enjoyed fairly strong support in Jordan, home to many Palestinians, and Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based. Muslim countries that do not share strong cultural, historical and political ties to the Palestinian cause, such as Pakistan and Turkey, tended to view Hezbollah and Hamas negatively.

Al Qaeda was starkly rejected by majorities in every Muslim country except Nigeria, which gave the group a 49% approval rating.

 -- Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba in Mecca, Islam's holiest site in Saudi Arabia. Credit: Caren Firouz / Reuters

Comments () | Archives (25)

it's stupid to classify those who fight man to man in open battlefields or civilians who commit property damage by blowing up empty buildings as "terrorists".
by contrast the most heinous crimes against unarmed peaceful civilians (especially when children are deliberately targeted by armed paramilitaries or their civilian clothed thugs is definitely terrorist. the suicide bomber blowing up girls schools is a type of terrorism unique to islamic jihad.
all abrahamic religions are based on bullshit but it's islam which cannot coexist peacefully with secular democratic egalitarianism.
as long as islam isn't confronted with the hadithian facts about mohammad, islam will never have a reformation and will attempt to drag the west down to 7nth century standards

@newsd_watcher
yes, it allows it. I live in a country with many cultures, religions,according to what you say, my religion would not allow this? well the proof is there
religious duty to "cleanse"?, that's very warrior like. My country does not "cleanse" people who are different otherwise the government would be "cleansed" by the population (without the blood aspect ofcourse:-)).
" almost all the terrorist organizations of this world are Islamic" really? I have a few in mind not related to muslims (IRA, ETA, corsican mouvement, many christian integrists groups, anyone who wants independance or autonomy of their territories...really)
"learn to respect or accept other ways of life" ... don't say it before an Imam""I say what I want in front of anyone I want...My country would not have progressed if people were the way you are. if you don't speak up, who is going to do it for you. look at France and its deportation. I wish people had spoken against their government but that;s not teh case. My country has nothing to be ashamed of in recent history, even if sometimes our citizens paid it with their blood. our government is not religious, if people commit crimes in the supposed name of religion they get severely punished as required by law. full stop. no one wants integrists on their soil. practice your religion peacefully or face up the consequences as any criminal would, that's it.

Don't article after article of information like this begin to disprove those who always yell, "Its only a tiny minority of Muslims who are extremists!"

To me, someone who murders another person because they leave Islam or commits some sexual infidelity, is an extremist. Here is a quote that proves the point.

"According to the survey, majorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria would favor changing the current laws to allow stoning as a punishment for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion. About 85% of Pakistani Muslims said they would support a law segregating men and women in the workplace."

Shariah Law is so brutal and we need to start acknowleging that. Sad thing is once you finally get the left to admit this, they always say something like "well Christians have killed people too". Yeah but thats not the point. Jesus stopped the women from being stoned to death, told his disciples to love their enemies even when being persecuted, and the Catholic Church doesn't even allow for the death penalty against murderers, let alone those leave Catholicism. This is a real danger in the world we all must begin to address as the muslim birth rate continues to dwarf the rest of the world's.

if non muslim countries arest a muslim suspect,the first thing you hear is their human rights,are being violated well i wonder if muslims wish to be dominated as the above article indicates,then they should waive any rights and ask to be sentenced under their own countries laws,ah all of a sudden a big turn around will happen and you will hear how badly treated they were in their home land,until they get back home where they will be praised for their use of a civilised system,
the same system they wish to bring to its knees. thank you.

Religion and politics do in fact coexist in varying degree as far as masses and governments are concern, there are not much of differences between societies which want to be known officially or not as Christian or Islamic or Jewish state since majority of their holidays and political policies are based on religion, politicians need religious leaders to legitimize their governance and religious leaders need politicians to lawfully sanction their way of collecting revenue and rituals in a society!

There is no Agnostic nation on earth which can truly claim to be a religious free state!

Well, this article includes all the usual provincial "truths" of current American corporate media.

Take Egypt for example. The recent rigged elections have confirmed that Egypt (like most of our "allies" in the mideast) is a full blown dictatorship. The main opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood and no doubt their courage in opposing an ugly dictator plays a role in Egyptian's response to the poll.

Not surprising that after our decades of "support" for dictators that would "do our will" many Moslem countries now look for alternatives. We really blew our historical chance when we (at the bidding of israel-firsters that run our foreign policy) did all we could to replace secular nationalism with puppet dictatorships. Remember that Iran had a secular, parliamentary democracy for almost a century until our CIA decided that was an impediment to "cheap oil for Americans" and replaced it with a dictatorial monarchy.

Islam is a dangerous influence in the world. When you prescribe death to any member who converts to another religion, there exists enough evidence to condemn Islam instantly.

@Edina
"learn to respect or accept other ways of life" ... really, does your religion permit you to do that? What about the passages in Koran saying that non-believer must be purified at the point of sword. Isn't it your religious duty to cleanse the world of poor and wretched non-believers like us? That's what explains why almost all the terrorist organizations of this world are Islamic.
"learn to respect or accept other ways of life" ... don't say it before an Imam, he can get you lashed in public for saying something that is absolutely un-Islamic.

@Jrwkilleen
i forgot to answer that, my apologies: i called it muslim socities to use teh same semantic your press is using (does not mean I agree with the term). unless the countries in question state they are an islamic republic, no "islamic" system exists. My country is composed of several cultures, several religions for exemple, it is not an islamic republic but a country with a majority of people who are muslims, all religions are equally considered in teh law and in teh facts. like teh US has a majority of christians. being muslim or jewish or chrisian is no considered as a group in my country. this is a personal affiliation, no difference between my jewish neighbour and I for exemple. my jewish neighbour also considers being jewish is justa religion. Judaism and Islam can howver define a whole system (political etc...), this is where they are verysimilar. 2. "good values" the main values in Coran, the Bible or the Thorah are the same, you shall not kill, etc...don't be ticked by it:-) and yes, I will keep my values to myself. your country spreads yours everywhere even if not asked for them. could you do the same as to keep them for yourselves. we can take good things from your system like we can learn from other countries such as Sweden but I would rather have the choice of what we import, not be forced into it. you should think about the fact that your country has imposed many "values" in Europe, Asia or ME without asking anyone. get the whole story and try to be fair in your comments. respect is not a one way road and you are not always right. as for sharia law, i already answered. we don't have it and we don't want it. that's a choice as a society. 3. maybe you should try to understand that there is a difference between nation, religion, political system... religion goes with a brain. the same way the notion of freedom of speech is married with respect and responsibility.

@geo88a
The fanatics you speak of make up less than .001% of muslims worldwide. Most of them are illiterate mental cases who rely on cheap household bombs to further their dillusional goal. Do you think its right that every muslim in the middle east pictures George Bush as perfect representation of the average american? I surely hope not.

@Jrwkilleen : my country does not have sharia law and it is country with a majority of muslims. to most of us, religion is just religion, not a political system or an ideology. if you are american, sorry to tell you that but , it is not up to me to decide what goes on in terms of legislation in your country. only be your representatives can deal with this. you don't have to implement any laws you don't want to. you have for exmeple the death penalty in your country that I find barbaric. I don't throw it in your face, that's my opinion but I will deal with my own country and its problems. we are allowed to talk and protest, it is a democratic system and close to a laic state.
@geo88: i will try to be succint in my answer but it is indeed a very complicated and confusing situation . Islam has many schools of thoughts (interpretations of Coran) and withing those "movements", many other groups exist , just like in Chritianity. this being said, it is indeed FORBIDDEN to harm anyone (not even a mosquito in theory), however we are allowed to resolve to defense in very specific cases but this is all "regulated" meaning violence is to eb used as a very last resort. this is where some people (not the majority) give a legitimity to their crimes (due to their bad interpretation). you brought upo something interesting- the role of imams- islam does not have a "clergy" as such. it does not exist to prevent manipulation of the masses but as you can see it can fail(some groups believe in a clergy). for a muslim, the relation to God is vertical, meaning there is no weight of teh group, it is just God and you. then again look a SA and teh manipulation of the religion they made by using a misguided and corrupted interpration of Islam as a political system. if you read a little about it, you must have heard of salafists and wahabits...frightening. they are the equivalent of christian integrists if you want. a minority but causing major damages. their society is build around one religion, one ethnie, one language. this is why they spread their "ideology" around . my country has been subjected to many terrorist attacks because they want us to adopt their way of life. it is not a question of religion but spreading an ideology. imams can have a role in society, just like priests, rabbis but all have to be careful with the version of islam they are spreading (my country checks this before authorising a place of cult, mosques, synaguogues, churches). this is where the danger is if the imam has another agenda. manipulation of weak minds, using poverty to their advantage. inetgriste are all the same. regarding fanatics, I have no idea. I am just a regular citizen really. I am not in contact with such people to my knowledge. my theory is however:
1. some are spreadiung a certain ideology (the real dangerous ones )
2. the majority are weak minds manipulated by (1)to fight against injustice done to their "own" (as for these groups, communautarism is a blessing)
3. poor people being given money, etc...by these groups and joined
4. some are politically driven: presence of US troops in ME (war in Iraq was a big mistake as it unleashed those fanatics that S.Hussain was keeping on a leash. that;s the only positive thing this man ahs done). the american agenda in ME is also a big issue that can only cause recrutement of candidates to increase.
to come back on your first sentence, "it happens all the time", it is not true. it is just because the media only talk about this. talking about normal citizens is not intereting and does not sell papers...I currently live in teh UK, if you start reading the news about the US , people tend to think you are silly like it is not possible to be. as I said there is a choice in tyerms of publications. I like to read different sources (UK, France, Germany,North Africa, US, ME ) to get a real feel of what is propaganda and what is real. Idon't know if you can get an answer to your questions in what I wrote (i am no terrorist specialist, just an automotive researcher). It is very complicated so I can only speak for myself and the people I know. all I can say is that muslims have been around in Europe for centuries, no issues. tehy are citizens of thsoe countries like any other but 911 brought suspiscion on everyone for the actions of fanatics. if those terrorist were women, woudl teh world consider that women are all dangerous? that sounds stupid but it is the same. Hope this helps

i am not surprised by this poll. islam has and always will be about submission, not about freedom or thinking for oneself.

@Edina
I hear what you are saying. Your religion "it is forbidding to harm anyone" but it happens all the time.
Maybe the Iman is not doing enough to deter this behavior.
What, then, makes this fanatic/criminals tick?
I know some Muslin people, but I don't them well enough to ask these questions.
So maybe, you can indulge me.

Edina wrote, "not all muslim countries societies are built around religion." Really? Than why call it a muslim society? As to your "good values", please keep them and your sharia law out of our country.

to all the previous comments, unless you know those societies, avoid making nonsensical comments. speaking about a religion you don't know is kind of a joke to me. Besides, the "muslim world" does not exist. you have nations in which you have people who chosse to have a spiritual life, if this is based on teh Coran, so be it. as usual you prefer to spread propaganda based on fanatics/criminals that the majority does not approve of . it is forbidden to harm anyone in our faith unless we have to defend ourselves. typical american though, "everything is black or white, they don't agree with us, they are ennemies". ridiculous! learn to respect or accept other ways of life. keep yours...it is not my problem how you live but our cultures (because every society has its own culture) can also exist. same stupidity in the theory of this fictional clash of civilisation:-) west against orient? hillarious...

nothing on Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia? :-) Not a muslim majority to you?
not all muslim countries societies are built around religion. it is a big part of our lives (and it is teaching us good values) but we live just fine without having religious oriented states. religion is a personal matter (and in our case the majority of the populations are muslims) but this should not intervene in the management of society to be respectful to all individuals in society. jews, muslims and christians, atheists live together. I am personally against religious political parties. religion and politics are not a good couple. being single is preferable to a bad marriage. ShalomHalicoum

No surprise here...

POLITICAL ISLAM=SHARIA LAW

That means amputating hands of thieves, stoning to death of FEMALE adulterers (while male adulterers get wrist-slapped) & dont forget the elephant in the room:

SHARIA LAW=DEATH PENALTY FOR GAYS

They can have whatever they want. As long as they don't mess with us.

Your asking people who follow Islam if they want Islam part of their government. It's like asking a fat kid if he likes cake. This poll only shows you how religous middle eastern muslims are. Which appear to be normal to me. You would get a similar response polling catholics in vatican city.

So, bottom line here is that they agree with the religious right and old half-term herself?

 
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