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News 17 Aug 12

Survey Shows Balkans Muslims Remain Secular

A worldwide survey by the Pew Research Center finds Muslims in the Balkans are markedly less rigorous in their religious practices than their counterparts elsewhere.

Besar Likmeta
BIRN
Tirana
Bosnian woman prays during Ramadan | Photo by SulejmanOmerbasic/AP

According to the survey less than half of the Muslims surveyed in the Balkans see religion as central to their lives - and only 15 per cent of Albanian Muslims consider it as such.  

The survey, which involved more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews in over 80 languages, finds that while there is broad agreement on the core tenets of Islam, Muslims across the 39 countries and territories surveyed differ significantly in their levels of religious commitment, openness to multiple interpretations of their faith and acceptance of various sects and movements.

Muslims in Eastern Europe also report lower levels of religious practice than Muslims in other regions. They also tend to be less observant than their counterparts in other regions when it comes to mosque attendance.

Only three in ten Muslims in Bosnia and Herzegovina visit their local mosque once a week or more, for example.

Despite lower levels of religious commitment by some measures, the majority of Muslims in the region subscribe to core tenets of Islam, and many also report that they observe such fasts as Ramadan as well as obligations to give alms to the poor.

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