WASHINGTION: Democracy is still popular in six Muslim-majority countries, over a year after the Arab Spring, and the majority in some countries favors laws based on the Holy Quran, according to a poll published Tuesday.
In Pakistan, 82% of participants feel “laws should strictly follow the teachings of the Holy Quran.” In the rest of the Muslim world, only 72% of Jordanians, 60% of Egyptians, 23% of Tunisians and 17% of Turks and Lebanese agreed.
The first two Muslim-majority nations to overthrow a dictator still “desire” democracy, with some 67% of Egyptians and 63% of Tunisians saying “democracy is preferable,” according to the survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in recent months.
In the rest of the region, 84% of Lebanese and 71% of Turks say “democracy is preferable,” but Jordanians and Pakistanis are less enthusiastic, at 61% and 42% respectively.
Forty-five percent of Tunisians say the country has improved without ousted 23-year president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, and 42% disagree. Tunisians are still optimistic about the future of their country, with 75% saying the nation’s flailing economy will improve.
Aside from Lebanon, which boasts a large Christian minority, a majority of poll participants across the surveyed Muslim nations feel Islam does and should play a central role in government. Points of view differ across the countries regarding the degree to which Islam should affect policy.
A majority of poll participants believe women should have the same rights as men. Lebanese led the pack with 93% believing in gender equality. Only 74% of Tunisians and 58% of Egyptians support equal rights for women. Some 67% of Tunisian women say that equal gender rights are very important, whereas only 50% of men agree.
The overwhelming majority of most poll participants opposed extremists, even if al Qaeda is seen as favorable by 19% of Egyptians, 16% of Tunisians and 13% of Pakistanis.
The polls were conducted in March and April, with a sample of 1,000 participants per country and a margin of error ranging from more or less than 3.9 to 5.2 points across the different countries.
More in PakistanFederal cabinet approves minority quota increase in assemblies