A new Pew Research Center survey of Muslims in 39 countries around the globe finds that most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics. While many Muslims favor making sharia official law in their country, the report finds that there also is widespread support for democracy and religious freedom.
In a conference call with journalists, the staff of the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life discussed the findings of “The World’s Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society,” the second report based on the survey. The first report, “The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity,” focused on the survey’s findings about religious beliefs and practices. The global survey of Muslims was conducted in two waves. Fifteen sub-Saharan African countries with substantial Muslim populations were surveyed in 2008-2009, and some of those findings previously were analyzed in the report “Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa.” An additional 24 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe were surveyed in 2011-2012; results from all 39 countries are analyzed in the new report as well as in the August 2012 report on Muslims’ religious beliefs and practices.