Lifestyle & Belief

Most Muslims want sharia to be the ‘law of the land’: Pew study


Afghan devotees pray during Eid al-Adha at the Shah-e Do Shamshira mosque in Kabul on October 26, 2012.



Most Muslims in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia would like sharia, or Islamic law, to be “the official law of the land,” according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center.

The idea was most popular among Muslims surveyed in Iraq and Afghanistan and least popular in Central Asia, Russia and the Balkans, where less than half of Muslims supported it.

However, the study also reveals that sharia means different things to different Muslims, the Los Angeles Times reported. Some survey participants told researchers that it should only apply to Muslims. Others want religious judges to oversee family law, but not punish criminals.

Pew researchers interviewed more than 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa between 2008 and 2012 for the study, which was released today. Researchers did not visit several countries with large Muslim populations, including China, India, Saudi Arabia and Syria, due to political or security reasons.

The poll also detected differences about morality among Muslims worldwide, the Christian Science Monitor reported. While most said suicide, homosexuality, abortion and prostitution are morally wrong, there were regional disagreements on whether divorce, birth control, polygamy are acceptable.

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