The declaration of Mohamed Morsi as Egypt’s first freely elected president marks a major milestone for a country that until February 2011 had spent nearly three decades under the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak. At the same time, for significant numbers of Egyptians, Morsi’s relatively narrow victory over former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has the potential to raise questions about Islam’s role in society.
A survey by the Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project in March-April – well before Morsi emerged as a leading candidate in the presidential race, but after Islamist parties had won the majority of seats in the December parliamentary vote – found considerable support for Islam as a guiding force in the country’s future. However, the poll also revealed that not all Egyptians are equally comfortable with Islam’s expanded influence.
Already in early spring, there was broad acknowledgment of Islam’s rising profile, especially in the political arena. Roughly two-thirds (66%) of Egyptians saw Islam playing a big role in national politics, up 19 points from 2010, when just 47% said this was the case.
Read the full report, Morsi’s Election Highlights Egyptian Views of Islam’s Role in New Democracy, on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press website.