Pew Research Center Report, April 30, 2013. A new Pew Research Center survey of Muslims 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. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many also think that their religious leaders should have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia – traditional Islamic law – to be recognized as the official law of their country. …
The survey – which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in 80-plus languages with Muslims across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – shows that Muslims tend to be most comfortable with using sharia in the domestic sphere, to settle family or property disputes. ….
Overall, the survey finds that most Muslims see no inherent tension between being religiously devout and living in a modern society. Nor do they see any conflict between religion and science. Many favor democracy over authoritarian rule, believe that humans and other living things have evolved over time and say they personally enjoy Western movies, music and television – even though most think Western popular culture undermines public morality.
The new survey also allows some comparisons with prior Pew Research Center surveys of Muslims in the United States. Like most Muslims worldwide, U.S. Muslims generally express strong commitment to their faith and tend not to see an inherent conflict between being devout and living in a modern society. But American Muslims are much more likely than Muslims in other countries to have close friends who do not share their faith, and they are much more open to the idea that many religions – not only Islam – can lead to eternal life in heaven. At the same time, U.S. Muslims are less inclined than their co-religionists around the globe to believe in evolution; on this subject, they are closer to U.S. Christians….
These are among the key findings of a worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life. The survey was conducted in two waves. Fifteen sub-Saharan African countries with substantial Muslim populations were surveyed in 2008-2009, and some of those results previously were analyzed in the Pew Research Center’s 2010 report “Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa.” An additional 24 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa were surveyed in 2011-2012; results regarding religious beliefs and practices were first published in the Pew Research Center’s 2012 report “The World’s Muslims: Unity and Diversity.” The current report focuses on Muslims’ social and political attitudes, and it incorporates findings from both waves of the survey.
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