Survey: Most Muslims seek democracy
More than a year after the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, there continues to be a strong desire for democracy in Arab and other predominantly Muslim nations, a new Pew Research Center poll finds. Solid majorities in Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan believe democracy is the best form of government, as do a plurality of Pakistanis. These publics do not just support the general notion of democracy – they also embrace specific features of a democratic system, such as competitive elections and free speech. Meanwhile, the United States is not seen as promoting democracy in the Middle East.
A substantial number in key Muslim countries want a large role for Islam in political life. However, there are significant differences over the degree to which the legal system should be based on Islam.
While democratic rights and institutions are popular, they are clearly not the only priorities. In particular, the economy is a top concern. Views about the economic situation in these countries are grim, although Turkey is an exception.
Majorities in all six nations polled believe women should have equal rights as men, and more than eight-in-ten hold this view in Lebanon and Turkey. However, while many support the general principle of gender equality, there is less enthusiasm for gender parity in politics, economics and family life.
Extremist groups are largely rejected in predominantly Muslim nations, although significant numbers do express support for radical groups in several countries.
The survey was conducted in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Tunisia and Turkey from March 19 to April 20. This report includes a special section on public opinion in Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began.
Short URL: http://thejewishreporter.com/?p=4483