That’s one of the tidbits from the latest Pew survey, which does its best to massage the numbers to make Islam’s devotees seem peaceful. Until numbers like these slip out.
In South Asia, support for applying religious law to family and property disputes is coupled with strong backing for severe criminal punishments, such as cutting off the hands of thieves (median of 81%) and the death penalty for Muslims who renounce their faith (76%).
Sharia is well and good until someone cuts their hand off. And apparently support for behanding people correlates with a strong desire to make Islam the law of the land.
Support for making sharia the law of the land is highest in South Asia (median of 84%). Medians of at least six-in-ten Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa (64%), the Middle East-North Africa region (74%) and Southeast Asia (77%) also favor enshrining sharia as official law.
And a risk factor for seeking to behand or behead people is Islamic religiosity.
The survey finds that religious devotion also shapes attitudes toward sharia. In many countries, Muslims with higher levels of religious commitment are more likely to support sharia. In Russia, for example, Muslims who say they pray several times a day are 37 percentage points more likely to support making sharia official law than Muslims who say they pray less frequently. Similarly, in Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Tunisia, Muslims who say they pray several times a day are at least 25 percentage points more supportive of enshrining sharia as official law than are less observant Muslims.
The good news is that support for Sharia varies widely, except for most of the places where it doesn’t.
The percentage of Muslims who say they want sharia to be “the official law of the land” varies widely around the world, from fewer than one-in-ten in Azerbaijan (8%) to near unanimity in Afghanistan (99%). But solid majorities in most of the countries surveyed across the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia favor the establishment of sharia, including 71% of Muslims in Nigeria, 72% in Indonesia, 74% in Egypt and 89% in the Palestinian territories.
Solid majorities that vary wildly. Now that’s a sight to see. But at least Muslims seem to have a better grasp of the problem than Obama Inc.
And on balance, more Muslims are concerned about Islamic than Christian extremist groups. In all but one of the 36 countries where the question was asked, no more than one-in-five Muslims express worries about Christian extremism, compared with 28 countries where at least that many say they are concerned about Islamic extremist groups.
Maybe they’re just Islamophobic?