CAIRO - Arab women and men favor Islamic Shari`ah to play a bigger role in legislation in their countries and that devout men are more likely to support women's rights than those who are less religious, a new survey has found.
The majority of women and men across countries experiencing political upheaval do want some level of religious influence in law, the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies said in a new report.
Those who want no legislative role at all for Shari`ah are in a small minority in every country.
The report, After the Arab Uprising: Women on Rights, Religion and Rebuilding, found that 44% of women in Egypt want Shari`ah as the only source of legislation in the country.
The percentage goes up among men to 50%, who want Shari`ah as the only source of legislation.
The poll found that 38% of women and 37% of women want Shari`ah as a source for legislation in Egypt.
The percentage grew in Yemen, where 68% of men and 58% of women want Shari`ah as the only source of legislation.
The poll found that only 29% of men and 32% of women in Yemen want Shari`ah as a source of legislation.
In Libya, 39% of men and 32% of women want Shari`ah as the only source of legislation, while 40% of men and 39% of women want it as a source of legislation.
The survey, which focused on six countries that saw political upheavals in recent years, found that men and women in Syria and Tunisia were less supportive to Shari`ah role in legislation.
It found that 18% of men and 15% of women in Syria want Islamic Shari`ah as the only source of legislation.
Some 31% of men and 34% of women want Shari`ah as a source of legislation.
In Tunisia, only 16% of men and 18% of women want Shari`ah as the only source of legislation, while the percentage grew to 66% of men and 56% of women, who want it as a source of legislation.
Religion & Rights
The survey also found that devout men are more likely to support women's rights than those who are less religious.
"The research shows that human development and overall education and economic empowerment are the most important interventions we can make to help women's rights," said Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
The survey found that 69% of devout men believe that a woman should have the right to initiate a divorce, while 46% of less religious men agreed.
The poll also found that there is no correlation between the degree of a man's religious faith and his resistance to equality for women.
"There is no link between men's support for Shari`ah as the only source of legislation and antagonism toward equal rights for women," Gallup researchers said.
The Gallup survey said that pragmatic factors rather than religion drive men's support for women's equality.
The more men are thriving, employed, and educated, the more they support women's rights, the survey said."Arguments for minimizing Arab women's roles in public life and society, however, are often cloaked in religious rhetoric. Arab men and women must work together to keep economic problems from turning into religiously justified limits on women's rights."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net