July 26, 2009
A 2006 report released by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies finds,
A recent in-depth Gallup survey in 10 predominantly Muslim countries, representing more than 80% of the global Muslim population, shows that when asked what they admire most about the West, Muslims frequently mention political freedom, liberty, fair judicial systems, and freedom of speech. When asked to critique their own societies, extremism and inadequate adherence to Islamic teachings were their top grievances.
However, while Muslims say they admire freedom and an open political system, Gallup surveys suggest that they do not believe they must choose between
Islam and democracy, but rather, that the two can co-exist inside one functional government.
Some observations I had:
- Lebanon appears the most liberal. I would attribute this to the diversity of the country’s population (Muslims, Christians, and Druze) in addition to its close historical and cultural connections to Europe.
- Turkey’s answers seem to reflect the outcome of Ataturk’s post-WWI secularism crusade. It also coincides with Turkey’s push toward Europeanism as highlighted by their unsuccessful attempts to enter the European Union.
- Iran’s population, after years of living under a less-than-free government, has developed an affinity for the West. Perhaps this is a case of “the enemy of your enemy is my friend.”