Many in Muslim world want sharia as law of the land – Pew Forum survey

April 30, 2013

(A man prays outside a mosque in Banda Aceh December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj )

Large majorities in the Muslim world want the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia as the official law in their countries, but they disagree on what it includes and who should be subject to it, an extensive new survey says.

Over three-quarters of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia want sharia courts to decide family law issues such as divorce and property disputes, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said on Tuesday.

Views on punishments such as chopping off thieves’ hands or decreeing death for apostates is more evenly divided in much of the Islamic world, although more than three-quarters of Muslims in South Asia say they are justified.

Those punishments have helped make sharia controversial in some non-Islamic countries, where some critics say radical Muslims want to impose it on western societies, but the survey shows views in Muslim countries are far from monolithic.

“Muslims are not equally comfortable with all aspects of sharia,” said the study by the Washington-based Pew Forum. “Most do not believe it should be applied to non-Muslims.”

Unlike codified Western law, sharia is a loosely defined set of moral and legal guidelines based on the Koran, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (hadith) and Muslim traditions. Its rules and advice cover everything from prayers to personal hygiene.

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Tom – Your point about “Views on whether women should decide themselves if they should wear a headscarf vary greatly” is not accurate according to your data

” from 89 percent in Tunisia and 79 percent in Indonesia saying yes and 45 percent in Iraq and 30 percent in Afghanistan saying no.”

The logic structure behind this sentence makes no sense – check it out – The last to numbers should read 55 and 70 saying yes, which would mean the conclusion in the first sentence is Wrong.

You should fix it.

Posted by ZorkDude | Report as abusive

“Unlike codified Western law, sharia is a loosely defined set of moral and legal guidelines based on the Koran, the sayings of Prophet Mohammad (hadith) and Muslim traditions.”

This statement is nothing short of journalistic malpractice. Sir, have you ever opened up a Sharia Law book? Why dont you tell the women and girls that have been subjected to abuse and honor killings that Sharia is just a loosely defined set of moral and legal guidelines. Disgraceful. If you claim to be a journalist do your job.

Posted by AJD117 | Report as abusive

The sample is 38 thousand out of 2.2 billion Muslim population. For any conclusion to be based on such a small sample is simply laughable. Are we really to conclude that a survey based on a 1.72% of the populace to be accurate?
The truth is that the minority who want Sharia law are more vocal just like. The silent majority really don’t want anything more rather that to live their life in peace and be ruled by a democratically elected government that is conscious of individual rights. There is a great deal of misunderstanding of the Muslim world that is propagated by flawed studies and activists who want studies to prove their own viewpoints.

Posted by TheLawMap | Report as abusive

nice information

Posted by patrickchris | Report as abusive

@TheLawMap You really ought to take a statistics class. 38,000 is a GIGANTIC sample size, and when properly using random sampling, such a study will generally produce VERY accurate estimates.

Posted by mgear | Report as abusive