February 2, 2011 / 5:00 PM / 9 years ago

Factbox: Egyptians want more Islam in politics: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - Egyptians want Islam to play a large role in politics, reject radical Islamists and think democracy is the best political system, according to poll data collected in Muslim countries last year.

The data, published by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center in December, gives an idea of Egyptian public opinion before the current protests there broke out.

Collected in April and May of last year for Pew’s Global Attitudes Project, the report described Muslim attitudes about religion in politics in seven countries — Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

A sample group of 1,000 was surveyed in face-to-face interviews. Here are the data for Egyptian responses:


— Is it good that Islam plays a large role in politics? 95 percent said “yes” and 2 percent “bad.”

— Is Islam’s influence in politics positive or negative? 85 percent said “positive,” 2 percent said “negative.”

— How much of a role does Islam play in Egyptian politics now? 48 percent said “large” and 49 percent said “small.”

— Is there a struggle between groups that want to modernize Egypt and Islamic fundamentalists? 31 percent said “yes.” Of them, 27 percent described themselves as modernizers and 59 percent called themselves fundamentalists.


— Are suicide bombings justified? 46 percent said “never,” 34 percent “rarely,” 12 percent “sometimes” and 8 percent “often.” (NOTE: Support for suicide bombing has dropped since 2006, when 28 percent said they were justified sometimes or often.)

— Are you concerned about Islamist extremism in the world? 70 percent said they were “very concerned” or “concerned.”

— Are you concerned about Islamist extremism in Egypt? 61 percent said they were “very concerned” or “concerned.”


— What do you think of Hamas? 49 percent were favorable.

— What do you think of Hezbollah? 30 percent were favorable.

— What do you think of al Qaeda? 20 percent were favorable.

— Do you have confidence in Osama bin Laden? 19 percent said “some” or “a lot,” 73 percent said “not much” or “none.” (NOTE: Confidence in bin Laden has fallen from 27 percent in 2006).


— Should men and women be segregated in the workplace? 54 percent said “yes” and 44 percent “no.”

— Should adulterers be stoned? 82 percent said “yes.”

— Should apostates from Islam face the death penalty? 84 percent said “yes.”

— Should thieves be flogged or have their hands cut off? 77 percent said “yes.”


— Is democracy preferable to any other kind of government? 59 percent said “yes.”

— Can a non-democratic system be preferable in certain circumstances? 22 percent said “yes.”

— Is it irrelevant to you what kind of government you have? 16 percent said “yes.”

Compiled by Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

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