Washington, Mar.23 : A survey of Muslims around the world has found that most of them are in favour democratic rights and of being ruled by representative governments.
According to the Galuup Inc. survey, most Muslims are also of the view that the West disrespects both Islam and Muslims, and blame this for the widening gulf between the two.
The results of the survey conducted by Gallup Inc, which forms the basis of a book - Who Speaks for Islam by John Esposito and Dalia Mogahed - were released on Thursday at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
The poll conducted over a period of five years, covering 35 countries and 50,000 respondents, found that substantial majorities in nearly all nations surveyed say that if asked to draft a constitution for a new country, they would guarantee freedom of speech.
According to the Daily Times, many Muslims want their own democratic model that incorporates Shariah, representative of Islamic values and the rule of law.
In Jordan, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh, Muslims want Shariah as the "only source" of legislation. The majority of women in virtually every country surveyed, including Saudi Arabia, believes that women deserve the same legal rights as men, to vote without influence from family members, to work at any job they are qualified for, and even to serve in the highest levels of government.
According to the Gallup poll, seven percent of respondents think that the 9/11 attacks were "completely" justified and view the United States unfavourably.
Among those who believe that the 9/11 attacks were not justified, 40 percent are pro-US, but 60 percent view the US unfavourably.
The survey makes it clear that the seven percent it calls "politically radicalised" because of their radical political orientation, are going to commit acts of violence. The data also show that lack of education and poverty are not key factors among those with extremist views. The politically radicalised, on average, are more educated than moderates: 67 percent of the politically radicalised have secondary or higher educations (versus 52 percent of moderates). Radicals are not more economically disadvantaged: 65 percent of the politically radicalised say they have average or above-average income, versus 55 percent of moderates.
Esposito and Mogahed, the authors of the book - Who Speaks for Islam - found that when asked in 2002 what they knew about Islam, 54 percent of Americans said "not much". In January 2007, the number of those who gave the same answer to the same question had risen to 57 percent.