Egyptians back sharia law, end of Israel treaty, poll shows

Pew survey shows 60% of Egyptians polled wants laws that follow Islamic teachings

About 60 percent of Egyptians surveyed said “laws should strictly follow the teachings” of Islam’s holy book

About 60 percent of Egyptians surveyed said “laws should strictly follow the teachings” of Islam’s holy book

A majority of Egyptians wants the country’s peace treaty with Israel to be annulled and says its laws should “strictly” follow the teachings of the Koran, a survey by Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project found.

Fifty-four percent of 1,000 Egyptians surveyed want the government to end the peace treaty with the Jewish state, Pew said in an emailed statement. About 60 percent of those surveyed said “laws should strictly follow the teachings” of Islam’s holy book.

The Washington-based center conducted the survey between March 24 and April 7, more than a month after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, who had maintained the peace treaty with Israel signed in 1979 by his predecessor Anwar Sadat.

“Egyptians of all ages, from all walks of life, and parts of the country continue to celebrate the dramatic political changes their nation has undergone,” Pew said in the release. “Overwhelmingly, they say it is good that former president Hosni Mubarak is gone.”

Under Mubarak, Egypt had maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip with Israel after the Islamist movement Hamas took power in the coastal enclave in 2007. The two countries signed a 2005 agreement to exempt Egyptian exports to the US from custom tariffs if they contained an Israeli component. Egypt also sells natural gas to Israel, and prosecutors last week ordered the detention of former Oil Minister Sameh Fahmy and five ex- officials amid an investigation into the agreement.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest opposition group during Mubarak’s three-decade rule, repeatedly criticized the former president for maintaining what it saw as close ties with Israel.

Seventy-five percent of Egyptians surveyed had a favourable view of the Islamist group, though only 17 percent said the Brotherhood should lead the next government, the survey found. It said the margin of error for the poll is four percentage points.

Of the politicians who have announced plans to run for president, Arab League Secretary-General and former Foreign Minister Amre Moussa came out top with a “very favourable” rating of 41 percent.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former director of the United Nations nuclear agency had a 25 percent rating, with Ayman Nour, a lawyer who came a distant second to Mubarak in the 2005 elections, on 32 percent, the poll found.

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Posted by: Moving Forward

No matter what statistics may say, governance based on religion will always discriminate against some citizens of various beliefs and create strife and resentment. This will invariably make a religious regime authoritarian and will deny human rights for representation and self governance for what may be considered a minority in numbers by comparison to the overall population. In this case millions of Christians become a minority together with females who are half the population.

And, whereas religious laws are holy and sacred, but I believe in a modern world these laws would be left open to interpretation by humans, who are known to make errors of judgment and to sometimes follow their own interests - hence back to where we started, and worse perhaps, a step backward.

Respect for people's beliefs remains an absolute necessity and young Egypt is smart and educated and should chose its governance system to move forward in a modern world and allow for opportunity and freedom for all.

Posted by: Moving Forward

Of course viable institutions are necessary. But, this brings us to cultural issues. How do we create the environment where qualified intellectuals would be motivated to run for elections? Who educates the people to discriminate qualified candidates? It may take many cycles of government to reach a workable solution.

Lebanon is a religious democracy (a paradox of terms) and remains in a stalemate. Except for their foreign policy, the USA has a functioning democracy, but has evolved into the hands of two parties that can be controlled by lobbies. Imperfect, still internally their institutions work for them - and, Barak Hussein Obama, originally from Kenya, is now the US president.

How do we find and elect a qualified patriot to direct a country to the prosperity and contentment of its people? And what if, by limiting our choices to race, creed, or religion, we miss on ideal candidates of any religion or gender?

Perhaps we may start in little steps, but on the right path...

Posted by: telcoguy

You may be right about religious government and discrimination. That is not what the article is saying.
What the article is saying is that a majority of the polled group supports such a form of government and they either do not believe ti will bring such problems or they actually do not care.
A perfectly democratically elected regime can be quite nasty towards minority groups. That is why a proper Government (or what the "western school of thought" would claim to be a proper government) will have checks an balances an you will have unelected officers like an independent civil service and judges who can counterbalance the power of Government and Parliament.
We have been working on this since Montesquieu's times, and that is actually why i am not a big supporter of democracy without proper institutions. Voting is just part of the whole thing, and not the most critical, unless you like the African style of "one man, one vote, one time".

Posted by: gordon

I wonder if in this survey they asked 500 Egyptian women?
90 Coptic?s?
10 Christians?
Did they ask 290 people that cant read or write?

This would represent the social and religious mix of the country.
They say 54 pct want sharia law, which would be 540 people.
If we assume the Coptic?s and Christians do not want sharia law then that would now be 540 from 900 who want sharia law.

If we assume that they asked 450 women and 450 men, and assume that 100 pct of the men said they wanted sharia law, that would also mean that almost 25 pct of the women also want sharia.

I find that very hard to believe.

I question the target group and doubt if they were truly representative of the entire country.

If I question the people getting onto the Metro in Dubai then I am sure the majority don?t drive.
I would come to the wrong conclusion of Dubai as a whole.

Never trust statisitics.

Posted by: Moving Forward

I seldom write in forums, but the title of this article ticked me off as if validating a foregone conclusion. Statistics fails more often than it predicts the right outcome. It would be a crying shame to lose this young momentum into the hands of the wrong regime. Having religion in politics is inviting fear and distrust and institutes an atmosphere of anarchy among the people that will linger for generations. Any system that denies any citizen the right to be elected to any government office is already not a democracy.

Posted by: Telcoguy

And about women not supporting a theocratic regime, well. Algeria in the 90s, Islamists won the election, do you think they had no women voting for them? Palestine, to the West dismay voted for an Islamist outfit, do you believe only men support AK in Turkey? how many examples do you want?
Women may support these groups for multiple reasons, maybe because the political support is along ethnic/sectarian lines so you buy the whole package. Maybe they are "forced" by their male relatives (preferred western narrative) Maybe they do not care about the things you think they care.
This is neither new nor limited to muslim countries, in the 30s the Spanish left, including some of their female leaders (Margarita Nelken, who could be described as a radical feminist) opposed universal suffrage because women's votes would be controlled by the priests (and go mostly to the conservative parties).
If you want elections you may be prepared to have people you do not like elected.
Enjoy your Demofest.

Posted by: Telcoguy

It may make you feel good to claim or even believe that statistics are not relevant. Some of use use that to make our living, and have a different view.
Back to this post, yes it all hinges on how representative is the sample, and that as usual, we can not know. What I know is that Pew is much more trustworthy than many other groups as they have much less of an agenda in shaping public opinion than other groups. They poll mostly outside the US to inform US decision makers, you can check their website ( They provide access to their data and, if you are interested, you can dig there looking for inconsistencies.

Posted by: AnotherEgyptian

I dont think the dust has cleared in Egypt yet.
Just that we are now hearing new voices that were shut before whether due to lack of will or by the old regime.
Nations can only evolve organically because it blows down to daily behavior. Some traits that were nurtured over decades have started on their count down to be expelled from the egyptian society. Some new ones like "listening" to others are on count down for societal adoption. This is all good. 50 years in the age of nations is nothing, specially when we're talking about a 7000 yr old country.

Posted by: nilegirl32ad

How can the article say 54% of Egyptians, it's 50% of a 1000, i.e 500. Come on!!! I for one want to keep the peace treaty, and don't want Sharia law!

Posted by: telcoguy

What is so suspicious? Iran 1979, people revolted to get rid of a dictator and have democracy... look what they got now.
Russia 1917, people revolted to get rid of a dictator (more of an autocrat) and have democracy.
In both cases they got it... for like 6 months.
History is full of revolutionary processes that get hijacked. Nothing surprising.

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