A Growing Muslim Identity

(Los Angeles Times) Shibley Telhami - In a survey I conducted last month in six Arab countries, in Egypt and Lebanon, most respondents identify themselves as Egyptians and Lebanese more so than Arab or Muslim. But in Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the UAE, majorities or pluralities cited their Islamic identity above all others. Historically, Arabs have had three political options: Islam, pan-Arabism, or nationalism linked to individual states. Saddam Hussein's appeal in the Arab world principally flowed from his embrace of secular Arab nationalism. Once the Baath institutions in Iraq collapsed, the primary organizations capable of mobilizing large crowds were religious. However, in the survey, the world leaders most admired were Nasser and French President Chirac, despite the fact that he banned the veil in French schools. The writer is a senior fellow at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

2004-07-16 00:00:00

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