The countries where a majority of Muslims want to live under sharia law

Countries where Islam is already favoured in law, like Afghanistan and Iraq, show the strongest backing for having sharia as the official law of the land

Tom Brooks-Pollock
Tuesday 15 December 2015 09:25 GMT

The legal framework based on the moral and legal code of Islam is rarely out of the news.

The most extreme interpretations of sharia are being enforced by Isis and Boko Haram, it is railed against by Republican presidential candidates, and the Independent recently revealed how sharia councils in Britain are locking women into "marital captivity" and doing nothing to officially report domestic violence.

What is sharia law?

Meaning "path" or "way" in Arabic, sharia refers to the moral and legal code of Islam. Sharia law can be applied to public and private aspects of life including criminal, family, banking and business law, politics and economics. It has many sources, including the Koran, the Hadith and centuries of scholarly interpretation and case law.

But how do Muslims feel about sharia ?

An international Pew Research Center poll of Muslims, conducted in 2013, found that this varies widely across countries - shown in the above graphic produced by Statista.

Respondents were asked if Sharia should be the official law of the land in their country.

In Afghanistan, 99 per cent said yes, with Iraq (91 per cent), the Palestinian Territories (89 per cent), Malaysia (86 per cent) and Niger (also 86 per cent) the countries next most in favour.

Countries most in favour of sharia being the law of the land tended to have legal systems that already favoured Islam over other religions, the poll found.

By contrast, inhabitants of countries, like Turkey, with a tradition of separating state and religion, and - like former Soviet bloc countries - had been secularised from the centre, tended to be less in favour of sharia becoming the law of the land.

In Azerbaijan, for example, only 8 per cent responded in favour, followed by Kazakhstan (10 per cent), Turkey (12 per cent), Albania (12 per cent) and Bosnia (15 per cent).

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