Poll: U.S. Muslims more moderate than Muslims worldwide

Muslims in America are much less inclined to support suicide bombing than other Muslims abroad, and are more likely to … Continued

Muslims in America are much less inclined to support suicide bombing than other Muslims abroad, and are more likely to believe that people of other faiths can attain eternal life in heaven, according to a new report released Tuesday (April 30) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

“The World’s Muslims” report looks at Muslim views across seven categories: Islamic law; religion and politics; morality; women; relations among Muslims; interfaith relations; and religion, science, and pop culture. There is also a special section on U.S. Muslims.

Of the countries surveyed, only a majority of Muslims in America — 56 percent — believe people of other faiths can go to heaven; by contrast, that figure among U.S. Christians is about 64 percent. U.S. Muslims are also less likely than Muslims abroad to believe in evolution, sharing views that are closer to those of U.S. Christians.

On suicide bombing, 81 percent of U.S. Muslims said it was never justified, 7 percent said it was justified to “defend Islam,” and 1 percent said it was “sometimes justified.”

Globally, most Muslims also reject suicide bombing, although significant minorities in several countries say such acts are at least sometimes justified, including 26 percent of Muslims in Bangladesh, 29 percent in Egypt, and 39 percent in Afghanistan.

At least half of Muslims in most countries surveyed say they worry about religious extremists in their own country, including two-thirds or more of Muslims in Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq and Indonesia.

The percentage of Muslims who say they want Shariah, or Islamic law, to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than 8 percent in Azerbaijan to 99 percent in Afghanistan. “Solid majorities” in most predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, however, favor the establishment of Islamic law. (The report did not ask the same question of American Muslims.)

That view did not preclude religious tolerance, the survey found, as most Muslims also favor religious freedom for people of other faiths.

The reason for the variation? “Muslims have different understandings of what Shariah means in practice,” said James Bell, the Pew Research Center’s director of international survey research, adding that support for Shariah cut across age, gender, and economic groups.

In most countries surveyed, majorities of Muslim women and men agreed that a wife is always obliged to obey her husband, including more than 90 percent in Morocco, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Indonesia.

The 157-page report is based on more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews conducted in more than 80 languages with self-identifying Muslims in 39 countries and territories. The report combines findings from a 2011-2012 survey of 24 countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe and a 2008-2009 survey of 15 other countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

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  • medenjw

    Yes, here they kill only dozens, not hundreds or thousands, like elsewhere. I guess that’s the new definition of a moderate. Kind of like saying: serial killers are more moderate here than in other parts of the world.

  • luvbach1

    What a load of baloney.I have first-hand experience with an American Muslim with an American nick name. This is an American citizen, a retiree from major American corporation, a home owner in an upper middle class neighborhood; in fact, the neighborhood watch captain! I happened to have a discussion with him during which 9/11 came up. I was not surprised when he launched into a defense of the attack; that is, if it was committed by Muslims, which he doubted. He further posited that Bush and/or the Jews may have been behind it. He also insisted that 9/11 occurred only after Bush invaded Afghanistan and Iraq and was thus justified.I could not dissuade him from this ignorant nonsense and brought out exchange to a quick close after that.He had become very agitated and it was obvious that his lies had never been contradicted before.

  • SampleMan

    Muslim “tolerance” is directly proportional to their ability to be intolerant, i.e. their percentage of the population.

    Think of it as a large bar with 100 people in it. If one of those people is a gang member, they aren’t likely to start anything. However, if 10 or more of them are gang members, then the trouble starts.

    Islam is based on domination. Islam without violence is like boxing without punching.