Young Arabs choose Sharia over social reforms!
In a recent survey, it has been found that today 41% of 3,400 young Arabs, aged 18 to 24, in 17 Arab countries, think religion is the most important element of their identity.
Do you think a new approach to politics, governance and diplomacy can have effects on people's attitude towards their religion?
Observers say it is not the case, at least, with the Arab world. In the recent years, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia has introduced many social reforms. His reforms have restricted the authority of the religious police, lifted the ban on women's driving, enhanced women's rights, loosened gender segregation, and introduced western-style entertainment in the kingdom.
President Mohammed bin Zayed in the United Arab Emirates has decriminalized sexual relations out of marriage, alcohol consumption and lifted the prohibition on living relationships in the country.
Bahrain today has amazing architecture and luxury residential areas, catering to companies and expats from all over the world. The entrepreneurial spirit is being dominant among younger generations in the country.
In Morocco, King Mohammed VI announced a series of reforms in June 2011. This has transformed the country into a constitutional monarchy. In Sudan, the rule of Omar al-Bashir, wanted by an international war crimes tribunal for alleged atrocities in Darfur, ended in April 2019. It was brought about by thousands of ordinary Sudanese from all walks of life who took to the streets for four months to demand an end to his rule.
Today the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan have diplomatic relations with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. They see in their new relationships with the Jewish state tremendous opportunities for their peoples' multi-faceted development. Now Saudi Arabia, too, desires to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. It is said to have a plan to offer Israel recognition and diplomatic relations in exchange for creating a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 war.
All this has, however, made little change in the attitude of young Arabs towards religion. In a recent survey, it has been found that today 41 per cent of 3,400 young Arabs, aged 18 to 24, in 17 Arab countries, think religion is the most important element of their identity. Over 56 per cent of them think their country's legal system should be based on Sharia (Islamic law). Seventy per cent of them are concerned over the loss of their traditional values and culture. Sixty-five per cent say preserving their religious and cultural identity is more important than creating a globalized society.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.