Religion

Are Iraqi youths losing their religion?

“It’s about my identity,” Yara Ali said with confidence. Ali is an Arab-Iraqi lawyer and prominent activist living in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq; for security reasons, she uses a pseudonym. “I was forced to wear it. It was to protect me, but it wasn’t me.” Yara, 29, told Al-Monitor. A couple of years ago, the modern, educated woman who had become…

Sudan’s government seems to be shifting away from Islamic law. Not everyone supports these moves.

The latest Arab Barometer surveys reveal some surprises. Last month, Nasredeen Abdulbari, Sudan’s justice minister, announced the end of bans on alcohol and apostacy, and prohibited the use of traditional corporal punishment. These moves are part of a wider effort to shift away Sudan from traditional sharia, or Islamic law, which has been the basis for law in Sudan for…

The Mideast Pudding Loses Its Theme

“Take away this pudding! It has no theme,” Winston Churchill is said to have exclaimed when confronted with an undistinguished dessert. The Middle East today resembles one of those puddings, but Uncle Sam may not send it back. A themeless pudding is better than a poisoned one. It is hard to overstate how much the Middle East has changed in…

Munich Security Conference 2020 Arab Disillusionment

After the Arab spring back in 2011, the political Islam was one of the loudest voices – today, more young people turn away from religion They came late, but finally benefited from the change: While mass demonstrations faded away one authoritarian regime after the other back in 2011, the preachers were missing on the streets, who wanted to sort the…

Young Arabs are Changing their Beliefs and Perceptions: New Survey

Less religious and less likely to be following religious leaders: these are the findings of a survey conducted among youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by the Arab Barometer, a pollster surveying the main social and economic trends in the region. The main findings were published by The Economist on 5 December 2019, showing that ‘across the…

A New Secularism Is Appearing in Islam

Across much of the Islamic world, many Muslims are disillusioned with the ugly things done in the name of their religion. For decades, social scientists studying Islam discussed whether this second biggest religion of the world would go through the major transformation that the biggest one, Christianity, went through: secularization. Would Islam also lose its hegemony over public life, to…

Writing the Next Chapters of Morocco and Algeria

Morocco is no stranger to protests, but its situation differs from that of Algeria. A recent article on the BBC using data from the Arab Barometer survey asked the question, “Could Morocco see the next uprising after Sudan and Algeria?” While it was selective in its choice of data points, for example, attitudes toward religion, the point of the article, which…

Arabs are losing faith in religious parties and leaders

“No to religion or sect,” cry the protesters in Iraq. “No to Islam, no to Christianity, revolt for the nation,” echo those in Lebanon. Across the Arab world people are turning against religious political parties and the clerics who helped bring them to power. Many appear to be giving up on Islam, too. These trends are reflected in new data from…