CAIRO – Almost two weeks before Egypt's first free presidential election, most Egyptians want Islam to play a major role in society and the Noble Qur'an shape their country's laws, a new survey has found.
"Most Egyptians continue to believe that Islam is playing a positive role in their country’s politics," the Pew Research Center's Global Attitude Project said in a new report.
A survey by the center found that 66% of Egyptians want Islam to play a major role in the political life in post-revolution Egypt.
Twenty-five percent of respondents, however, disagree.
"Egyptians clearly want Islam to play a role in shaping the nation’s laws," the report said.
The nationwide survey of 1,000 respondents also showed that most Egyptians believe the Noble Qur'an should shape the country's laws.
Six-in-ten Egyptians say they want Egypt's laws to strictly follow the Qur'an.
Thirty-two percent of respondents said they want Egypt's laws to conform to the principles of Islam but not strictly follow the Qur'an, while only 6% said the Qur'an should not have an influence.
The poll found that older Egyptians (68%) particularly back the view that laws should strictly follow the Qur'an, while the percentage drops among young Egyptians (54%).
A similar split arises according to the level of education, as 68% of Egyptians with a primary education or less want to strictly follow the Qur'an, while the percentage drops to 55% among college-educated Egyptians.
Egyptians are scheduled to go to polling stations on May 23-24 to elect a new president following Mubarak's fall.
A list of 13 candidates is vying for the top post, including Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursi, Islamist Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futuh, Islamist scholar Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa and former premier Ahmed Shafiq.
The survey also found that most Egyptians hold a favorable view of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Seventy percent of respondents see the Brotherhood favorably, down from 75% a year ago, the poll showed.
Fifty-six percent also rate the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political arm, positively.
The FJP is the largest parliamentary bloc in the Islamist-dominated parliament in Egypt.
The poll also showed that 44% of Egyptians view the Salafi Al-Nour party positively, while a similar percentage of Egyptians disapprove of the party.
The survey also showed that half of respondents (52%) have a positive view of Salafi candidate Hazem Salah Abu-Ismail. Forty-two percent disagree.
Abu-Ismail was disqualified from the race for his mother's dual nationality, sparking deadly protests in the country.
The poll also found that former Arab League chief Amr Moussa is given very positive perception among respondents (81%), followed by Islamist candidate, Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futuh, who is seen favorable by 58% of respondents.
The survey found that Egyptians still see democracy is the best form of rule in their country, despite the turbulent waves rocking the country since Mubarak's fall.
"Egyptians continue to voice confidence in democracy," the survey says.
The poll found that 61% of Egyptians think democracy is best-suited for solving the country’s problems.
Meanwhile, 33% say that a leader with a strong hand would be better equipped for dealing with Egypt's problems.
It also found that two-thirds of respondents consider democracy preferable to any other kind of government, while just 19% say in some circumstances a non-democratic form of government may be best.
Only 13% of respondents believe that it doesn’t really matter what kind of government that rules the country.
The poll also found that most Egyptians (60%) see law and order as very important priorities.
Economy also remains a major concern for most Egyptians, with 81% of respondents say improving economic conditions should be a top priority.
Only 27% of respondents describe Egypt's economic situation as good, down from 34%."Despite economic difficulties and political uncertainty, Egyptians remain upbeat about the course of the nation and prospects for progress."
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