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Posted on: May 11th, 2012 by Arif Mansour No Comments

Egyptians embrace Democracy, Islam in political life

Egypt - Source AlJazeera Youtube

photo: AlJazeera Youtube

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Despite economic difficulties and political uncertainty, Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress, according to new nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project. Amid rancorous debates over the presidential election and the shape of a new constitution, most Egyptians continue to want democracy, with two-in-three saying it is the best form of government.

Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws, although a growing minority expresses reservations about the increasing influence of Islam in politics. When asked which country is the better model for the role of religion in government, Turkey or Saudi Arabia, 61% say the latter. However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women.

Last year, Egyptians took to the streets to protest their dissatisfaction with then-President Hosni Mubarak, as one of many events that became known as the “Arab Spring.” Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project finds two-in-three Egyptians want democracy in their country, saying it is the best form of government and 52% are optimistic about the nation’s future.

Egyptians also want Islam to play a major role in society, and most believe the Quran should shape the country’s laws. A growing number sees Islam as playing a major role in the political life of the country – 66% currently compared with 47% in 2010. At the same time, a larger minority expresses reservations about religion’s increasing influence in politics.

By a margin of 61% to 17%, Egyptians say Saudi Arabia is a better model than Turkey for the role of religion in government. However, most also endorse specific democratic rights and institutions that do not exist in Saudi Arabia, such as free speech, a free press, and equal rights for women.

The survey shows that Egyptians hold a less favorable view of President Barack Obama, with 29% expressing confidence in him, compared with 2009 when 42% of those surveyed expressed confidence. Only 19% of Egyptians hold a favorable view of the United States.

The report is based on a survey of 1,000 Egyptian adults, conducted between March 19 and April 10, 2012. View full report here.

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