Muslim World Sharply Divided on Koran’s Influence on Government Law, Poll Finds

Ann M. Simmons, Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2016

As the Middle East seethes in turmoil and violence, a new study shows that the Muslim world is sharply divided over the fundamental relationship between the laws of government and the religious teachings of the Koran.

In places such as Pakistan, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, more than half of the people believe that their government laws should strictly follow the tenets of Islam, according to a Pew Research Center study published Wednesday.

By contrast, people in Burkina Faso, Lebanon and Indonesia feel that the law of the land should not be influenced at all by the Koran or should be shaped only by the value of its teachings, the study found.

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The survey focuses generally on whether the Koran should influence national laws and is not restricted to any aspect of Koranic principles, such as the religious legal system of sharia, Poushter said.

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The Pew survey polled 10,194 respondents in face-to-face interviews across 10 countries and territories that have significant Muslim populations: Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey, Jordan, Malaysia, Senegal, Lebanon, Burkina Faso and the Palestinian territories. The margin of error, depending on the country or territory, ranged from 3.7 percentage points to 4.3 percentage points, Pew officials said.

In Pakistan, 78% of respondents said the laws in their country should “strictly follow” the teachings of the Koran, putting it in first place among nations where residents hold this view. The Palestinian territories came in second with 65% of the population supporting strict adherence to the Koran for the government’s laws, a 29% increase over responses in a similar survey in 2011, according to the Pew study.

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78 percent of Pakitanis

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