Dawn: WASHINGTON: The global Muslim community of 1.6 billion people agree on the core principles of their faith, but differ widely in religiosity and religious tolerance, according to a poll published Thursday.
“Muslims are unified by core beliefs and in core practices” like faith in a single God, believe in the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and fasting during Ramadan, but “there are differences, sometimes widely” in religious interpretation, James Bell, the principal author of the new Pew Research Center study, told AFP.
The report, which Bell said was “unprecedented” in scope, was conducted in over 80 languages in 39 countries that account for 67 per cent of the world’s Muslim population.
Researchers interviewed around 38,000 people in 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 as part of a larger project on changes in global religions.
Between 85 and 100 per cent of Muslims believe in God and revere the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) , the survey said.
Eight of ten people interviewed in sub-Saharan Africa as well as South and Southeast Asia say religion is “very important.”
But only six in ten agreed in sample countries of the Middle East and North Africa, and only one in two agreed in former Soviet countries like Russia and some Central Asian republics.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Muslims aged 35 and over are more religious than their younger counterparts.