Home Diocese Pew Survey of Mideast Muslims: Religion less Central to those in Israel

Pew Survey of Mideast Muslims: Religion less Central to those in Israel

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Arab woman mix with more traditionally dressed women in Akko, Israel, in this Aug. 9, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Jim Hollander, EPA)
Arab woman mix with more traditionally dressed women in Akko, Israel, in this Aug. 9, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Jim Hollander, EPA)
Arab woman mix with more traditionally dressed women in Akko, Israel, in this Aug. 9, 2013, file photo. (CNS photo/Jim Hollander, EPA)

JERUSALEM (CNS) – While a majority of Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa say religion is “very important,” religion tends to be less central in the lives of those living in Israel, according to a survey released May 18 by the Washington-based Pew Research Center. Nevertheless, the survey found that compared to other religious groups in Israel – including Jews, Christians and Druze – Israeli Muslims are highly devout, and 68 percent say religion is “very important” in their lives. That number is significantly lower than the 89 percent that say the same in Morocco, according to the survey. Among those countries polled in the region, Lebanon is the only one where only a slim majority – 59 percent – of Muslims say religion is very important in their personal lives. “In the larger context of the Middle East and North Africa, Israeli Muslims actually place less emphasis on religion and some of the key pillars of their faith than do Muslims in neighboring countries,” said the Pew Center. For example, they said, religious observance of three of the five pillars of Islam, which all Muslims are expected to observe, was lower among Israeli Muslims than that reported in Muslim-majority countries of the region.