Religion dropping among many Arabs, says BBC poll

On the issue of the threat posed by other countries, many were more afraid of Israel than the United States and Iran.

By World Israel News Staff 

“Arabs are increasingly saying they are no longer religious,” says the BBC, on the heels of conducting “the largest and most in-depth survey undertaken of the Middle East and North Africa.”

The British public broadcaster says that “more than 25,000 people were interviewed for the survey – for BBC News Arabic  – by the Arab Barometer research network,  across 10 countries and the Palestinian territories between late 2018 and spring 2019.”

The issue of religion was one among a “wide range” of matters on which participants were asked, says the BBC.

“Since 2013, the number of people across the region identifying as ‘not religious’ has risen from 8% to 13%,” it says, adding that “the rise is greatest in the under-30s, among whom 18% identify as not religious, according to the research. Only Yemen saw a fall in the category.”

In Lebanon, says BBC, “personal piety has declined some 43% over the past decade, indicating less than a quarter of the population now define themselves as religious.”

On the issue of the threat posed by other countries, many were more afraid of Israel than the United States and Iran, said BBC.

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Seventy-nine percent of Lebanese asked said that Israel was the greatest threat to their country; 63 percent of residents of the Palestinian territories were most fearful of the Jewish State; and 54 percent of Egyptians, whose country has a peace treaty and relatively close ties with Israel, nonetheless believed that the Jewish State posed a threat to them, according to the poll’s figures.

Only the results from Yemen and Iraq showed Iran as the leading threat, with 33 and 31 percent respectfully viewing the Tehran regime as the greatest danger to their own country, the survey results showed.  Among Yemenis, Israel followed close behind, with 24 percent viewing it as the leading threat, while among Iraqis, the U.S. followed right behind with 30 percent most fearful of America, followed by 21 percent citing Israel, said the British broadcaster.

Only in Iraq and Tunisia was the U.S. considered a greater threat than Israel, the survey showed.

The survey was not conducted in Syria and Saudi Arabia, according to the BBC report.