Secularism Surges in the Arab World

(Economist-UK) According to pollster Arab Barometer, voters who backed Islamists after the Arab spring in 2011 have grown disillusioned and changed their minds. In Egypt, support for imposing sharia (Islamic law) fell from 84% in 2011 to 34% in 2016. In Lebanon and Morocco, only half as many Muslims listen to recitals of the Koran today, compared with 2011. The most remarkable, albeit nascent, transformation is in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad bin Salman, the young crown prince, has curbed the religious police, sacked thousands of imams, and launched a new Center for Moderation to censor "fake and extremist texts." At the same time, in places such as Algeria, Jordan and the Palestinian territories, polls show that support for sharia and sympathy for Islamist movements is high and growing.

2017-11-03 00:00:00

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