A new study reveals what Islam means in different countries
THE Pew Research Centre has released a chunky report on Muslims and their attitudes tosharia law, among other things. If you want to know how Islam in Indonesia, which is traditionally seen as having developed a moderate version of the faith, compares with Islam in Turkey, where the Islamic AK Party is testing the boundaries between mosque and state, attitudes to sharia law are a good marker. (Indonesia, the world’s largest country with a Muslim majority, in fact favours a stricter form of the faith than Turkey does.) But what do Muslims mean when they say they want sharia law? The most frequent demand is for imams to preside over family courts, followed in most cases by severe corporal punishment for crimes and then by execution for those who leave the faith. The report also reflects man’s infinite capacity to hold contradictory views at the same time. Almost 80% of Egyptian Muslims say they favour religious freedom and a similar number favour sharia law. Of that group, almost 90% also think people who renounce Islam should be put to death. Confused? So are they.