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We brush shoulders with  them in supermarkets and in the malls, often dressed in what to us appears strange clothing  and we read about the Muslim connection to most of the radical religiously induced violence plaguing the world today and we wonder. But then our sense of fairness kicks in and we don’t want to label everyone with the same brush but still we wonder and we wonder. 

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From a Church to a Muslim shrine and maybe to a mosque

We wonder just what do these people who stick out and who seem not to want to assimilate really think.

This may help you to sort this out.

As reported by Reuters Religion Editor Tom Heneghan 5/1/13

“Large majorities in the Muslim world want the Islamic legal and moral code of sharia as the official law in their countries but they disagree on what it includes and who should be subject to it, an extensive new survey says.

Suicide bombing was mostly rejected  in the study by the Washington-based Pew Forum but it won 40% support in the Palestinian territories, 39 % in Afghanistan, 29% in Egypt and 26% in Bangladesh.

Three quarters of respondents said abortion is morally wrong and 80 percent or more rejected homosexuality and sex outside of marriage.

Over three quarters of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia want sharia courts to decide family law issues such as divorce and property disputes, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said on Tuesday.

Views on punishment such as chopping off thieves hands or decreeing death to apostates, is more evenly divided in much of the Islamic world, although more than three quarters of Muslims in South Asia say they are justified.

Those punishments have helped make sharia controversial in some non Islamic countries where some critics say radical Muslims want to impose it on Western societies, but the survey shows views in Muslim countries are far from monolithic.

Muslims are not equally comfortable with all aspects of sharia” the study said. “Most do not believe that it should be applied to non-Muslims”,

Unlike codified western law, sharia is a loosely defined set of moral and legal guidelines based on the Koran, the sayings of Prophet Mohammed (hadith) and Muslim traditions. Its rules cover everything from prayers to personal hygiene.

More than four-fifths of the 38,000 Muslims interviewed in 39 countries said non Muslims in their countries could practice their faith freely and that this was good.

This view was strongest in South Asia where 97% of Bangladeshis and 96% of Pakistanis agreed while the lowest Middle Eastern result was 77% in Egypt

The survey polled only Muslims and not minorities. In several  Muslim countries, embattled Christians say they cannot practice their faith freely and are subject to discrimination and physical attacks.

The survey produced mixed results on questions relating to the relationship between politics and Islam

Democracy wins slight majorities in key Middle Eastern states-54% in Iraq, 55% in Egypt, and falls to 29% in Pakistan. By contrast it stands at 81% in Lebanon, 75% in Tunisia and 70% in Bangladesh.

In most countries surveyed, Muslims were more worried about Islamist militancy than any other form of religious violence.

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Muslim majority Turkey is more tolerant of other views t

Views on whether women should decide for themselves if they should wear a head scarf vary greatly, from 89% in Tunisia and 79% in Indonesia saying yes and 45% in Iraq and 30% in Afghanistan saying no.

Majorities from 74% in  Lebanon to 96% in Malaysia said wives should obey their husbands

Only a minority saw Sunni-Shi’ite tensions as a very big problem ranging from 38% in Lebanon and 34% in Pakistan, to 23% in  Iraq and 14% in Turkey

Conflict with other religions loomed larger with 68% in Lebanon saying it is a big problem, 65% in Tunisia, 60% in Nigeria and 57% in Pakistan.

A section of the survey on US Muslims noted that they ‘sometimes more closely resemble other Americans than they do Muslims around the world’. Only half say their closest friends are Muslim, compared to 95% of Muslims globally”

Written by Dr Robert Grant aka The Holy Land Guru to keep his friends up to speed on all things Holy Land related. He personally regularly escorts groups to the Middle East where he has gone more than 125 times over the past 46 years.

You can access all of the special articles that he has written by going to  Facebook.com/HolyLandGuru  and liking this page.