Global Study of Muslim Political, Social and Religious Views
Articles Series On Sociology of Religion
Hasan Yahya, Ph.Ds
Professor of Sociology and World cultures
Projected data on the Muslim population shows that Muslims will be more than one-quarter of the Earth’s population within the next two decades. The numbers will climb from 1.6 billion people in 2010 to 2.2 billion in 2030, concentrated in Muslim-majority countries (for example Indonesia 205 million (88.1%), Pakistan 178 million (96.4%), India 177 (14.6%), Bangladesh 145 million (90.4%), Nigeria 75 million (47.9%), plus Iran, Turkey and Egypt 74, (99.6%), 75 (98.6%), and 73 (90%) respectively.
These great numbers of Muslims encourages research studies especially exploring Muslim opinions toward social, political and religious issues. Precisely, the issue of rigidity and dogmatism among Muslims is the main concern. In other words, how much Muslims will be of danger to the world? Some interpretation of data findings doesn’t name the right issues, but they get around it as opinions on democracy, punishment of sins, and change in opinions obviously between those who practice Shari’ah with no molinithic code, or those liberals who follow in part western ideals of liberty, freedom and equality.
While social justice, equality and wealth redistribution are Islamic ideals, every Muslim if not the majority of Muslims believe in these ideal and wisshes to be practiced. But Muslims all over the world according to results of research made, unfortunately by foreign agencies and institutes, show some facts on Muslim beliefs toward Shari’ah. The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that Muslim views on religion, politics and society differ from one place to other in the Muslim world. For example, Afghanistan the Palestinian territory, Egypt and Indonesia overwhelmingly want to see sahriah be “the official law of the land”. Such findings in the four countries show 99%, 89%, 74%, and 72% respectively. The study also found that there was no agreement about “what shari’ah is, or what does it mean?”. There is no common understanding of a monolithic code, because there is none, in the Muslim world from Africa to Asia to the former Soviet Union.
The sample of the opinion research includes 38,000 respondent from 39 countries and territories in Africa, Asia and Europe. Method of invistigation was face-to-face interviews. Time period was between 2008 and 2012 in. Limitation of the study was some countries like China, India, Saudi Arabia and Syria have prevented the opinion research for “Political sensitivities or security concerns”.
In general, Muslim in countries with more experience living with “a narrow, rigid form of Shari’ah,” have less experience in understanding and support than Muslims in countries live under (laws ordained by God). But all may believe in Islamic ideals namely, justice, equality and wealth redistribution.
Even though most Muslims are comfortable on religious laws concerning family and property affairs, they vary on issues of punishments of blasphemous persons or converts to other faiths as well as issues such as polygamy, family planning and divorce.
In terms of of democracy, Muslims see no incompatibility with democracy even though they strongly support the idea of Islam to play a role in politics. On political involvement of religious leaders, the research findings show that significant portions support some or large influence of these leaders. Data shows the percentage of 53% in Afghanistan, 41% in Malaysia and 37% in Jordan.
In terms of Muslims in the United States, even though was not included, compared with previous studies, findings show 81% say suicide bombing or other forms of violence against civilians in the name of Islam are never justified. However, the global median for Muslims who agree on that is 72%. I think this is the main covert concern of any research done in recent decades after the 9/11 accident. Further more, the study finds on the same issue where such acts violence are at least sometimes justified in Bangladesh 26%, in Egypt 29% , in Afghanistan 39% and in the Palestinian territories 40%.
Other findings as reported by Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life that:
– Many U.S. Muslims take a more liberal view on whether Islam is the “one true faith that leads to eternal life,” said Alan Cooperman, associate director of research for the Pew Forum. In Pakistan, 92% say there’s just one path to salvation but only 51% of U.S. Muslims of Pakistani origin agree.
– Many, including 67% of Muslims in Egypt, 68% in Iraq and 78% in Indonesia, are deeply concerned about religious extremists within their own countries.
– Muslim men and women agree: A wife must always obey her husband. The view holds from Morocco, 92%, to Malaysia, 96%. But the majority also say it’s up to the woman herself if she wants to wear a veil. Most say honor killings are never justified — with two exceptions. In Afghanistan and Iraq the majority would allow executions for women who “allegedly have shamed their families by engaging in premarital sex or adultery.”
A 2011 global Muslim population study by Pew found that, based on immigration patterns and birth rates, Muslims will be more than one-quarter of the Earth’s population within the next two decades. The 1.6 billion people in 2010 will become 2.2 billion in 2030. UN reports confirmed such progections and show that as of 2011, it is predicted that the world’s Muslim population will grow twice as fast as non-Muslims over the next 20 years. And by 2030, Muslims will make up more than a quarter of the global population. These numbers are expected to open more research projects to explore the issues discussed in this article concerning Muslim future attitudes.
Sources: USATODAY, UN and Pew Research Reports.
Hasan Yahya is an Arab-Palestinian-American sociologist, philosopher, writer and historian, former professor of Comparative Sociology and Educational Administration at Michigan State University, Lansing Community and Jackson Community Colleges. He is the Board Editing member at International Humanities Studies (IHS) Journal (Jerusalem-Spain) and several other USA, journals. Dr. Yahya is the originator of Arab American Encyclopedia and Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi fil Mahjar-USA. His (260 plus) publication may be observed on Amazon and Kindle. To reach the writer: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Yahya Credentials: Ph.D in Comparative Socioloy 1991, Michigan State University. Ph.D in Educational Administration, Michigan State Univ.(1988). M.A Psychology of Schools Conflict Management, Michigan State Univ. Diploma M.A, Oriental Studies, St. Joseph Univ. Beirut, Lebanon. (1982) B.A Modern and Classical Arab Literature, (1976). Life Achievements: Publishing 250 plus Books and 1000 plus articles.
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