The Pew Forum has conducted an interesting study on the views of world’s Muslims, in many different countries encompassing huge geographical areas and a wide diversity of cultures. It is a big study and it will take a number of blog posts to fully go over it.
Let’s start with the easy part.
It is not surprising that expressed opinions vary widely. Survey results depend on who you ask, where they grew up and what language they speak. Nonetheless, there are a few areas in which large majorities of the survey subjects agreed. Those were questions that had to do with “morality”.
To begin with, (in many cases overwhelming) majorities of responders said that belief in God is necessary for being a moral person. Of all the countries surveyed, on in one (Kazakhstan) the majority of Muslims did not say it was necessary to believe in God to be moral.
Agreement among Muslims is even stronger when it comes to condemning the consumption of alcohol as immoral.
Pat Robertson, you’ve got company!
And hence it is not surprising to hear an Imam in Boston complain that Muslims have been too quiet about the gay marriage debate in the US.
Now, of course I know there are other US Imams that have even offered to marry gays, in places where it is legal. I applaud tolerance when I see it. But if the data are any guide, the few Muslims who are not homophobic have their job cut out for them if care to convince their homophobic co-religionists.
Dear Christian homophobes: please remember, as long as your morality is based on “deeply held religious values” (read: the demands of an invisible dictator), it is going to be just as absurd as Muslims’.