Muslims worldwide support democracy and religious freedom

Published: Thursday, May 2 2013 6:34 p.m. MDT

He said the study shows Muslims see no conflict in promoting democracy and religious freedom while also supporting Sharia, and that this is because religion is and always will be entrenched in the public and political life of many countries where the study was conducted.

"Laws reflect the values of the people," said Senzai.

Pew compared the worldwide survey to one it did in 2012 among U.S. Muslims, who are more at ease with living in contemporary society than Muslims living elsewhere. About six-in-ten Muslims living in the U.S. (63 percent) say there is no tension between being religiously devout and living in a modern society, compared with a median of 54 percent of Muslims worldwide.

On the question of violence committed in the name of Islam, the surveys found about eight-in-10 Muslims (81 percent) say that suicide bombing and similar acts targeting civilians are never justified. Across the globe, a median of roughly seven-in-10 Muslims (72 percent) agrees.

In other findings of the survey:

• At least half of Muslims in most countries surveyed say they are concerned about religious extremist groups in their country.

• Muslims around the world overwhelmingly view certain behaviors — including prostitution, homosexuality, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and consumption of alcohol — as immoral. But attitudes toward polygamy, divorce and birth control are more varied.

• In most countries where a question about so-called “honor” killings was asked, majorities of Muslims say such killings are never justified. Only in two countries — Afghanistan and Iraq — do majorities condone extra-judicial executions of women who allegedly have shamed their families by engaging in premarital sex or adultery.

• Majorities of Muslim women as well as men agree that a wife is always obliged to obey her husband. At the same time, majorities in many countries surveyed say a woman should be able to decide for herself whether to wear a veil.

• In half of the countries where the question was asked, majorities of Muslims want religious leaders to have at least “some influence” in political matters, and sizable minorities in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa think religious leaders should have a lot of political influence.

EMAIL: mbrown@deseretnews.com

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