Poll Shows Most Egyptians Don’t Want a Theocracy

Three months in advance of the Egyptian elections, an extensive Gallup poll shows that while Egyptian citizens want religious authorities to advise their political leaders, they do not want a theocracy.  The difference between people who wanted religious figures in an advisory role compared to those who wanted clerics to hold power was stark: while 7 out of 10 Egyptians said that they wanted religious figures to counsel governing officials, while only 14 percent said that they should have full authority.  Only one percent of those surveyed favored an Iran-style theocracy.

These results show that the Muslim Brotherhood, which is favored to be a major victor in the September elections, may not have as much traction as people are predicting.  The Muslim Brotherhood is a political party which favors a government guided by Islamic law.  Although 60 percent of those polled said that they had no current political preference, only 15 percent said that they supported the Brotherhood.

According to the Associated Press, the poll also showed that Egypt and Lebanon’s citizens are most likely to “welcome a neighbor of another faith,” signaling religious tolerance.  And a sizeable majority of citizens want religious freedom to be a provision in the constitution.  Egyptians are also, according to the report, the least likely people of “any country in the world to say the targeting and killing of civilians is never justified.”  This is important, given the fact that Egypt has a sizeable Christian minority.  Inter-religious violence has flared up periodically over the past few months.

But the poll also pointed out something more dire: that many Egyptians are most concerned simply with putting food on the table.  “Despite optimism, more than one-third of Egyptians said they have trouble feeding themselves and their family or providing for the most basic needs,” the study said.

You have to wonder how that will affect the elections, when they roll around.


Photo from Tschemo's Flickr photostream.


Ernest R.
Ernest R6 years ago

It has been reported that 80 per cent of Egyptians polled wanted Sharia law. Is that true ? If so , that would be a de facto theocracy.

Tom Y.
Tom Y6 years ago

"Most Egyptians Don't Want a Theocracy." Good idea. The problem is, the decision won't be made by most Egyptians. It will be made by the faction that wants power most badly, and at this time the Islamist militants have world power as their burning ambition.

Sonny Honrado
Sonny Honrado6 years ago


Beth S.
Beth S6 years ago

Just some interesting news...

Fri 10 Jun 2011

Around 300 individuals gathered in Tahrir Square on Friday, chanting "Islamist, Islamist," and calling for the implementation of Sharia Law in Egypt. Protesters also raised objections regarding tourists who "violate the people's traditions," and demanded closer scrutiny of those who receive permission to enter the country for tourism purposes.

The protesters, who held the banner of the "Development and Renaissance Party", refused a civil state and attacked secularism, arguing that it does not suit the Egyptian people. They stressed that Egypt is a strictly Islamic country. A number of protesters had set up a stage at the same spot that Tahrir revolutionaries used to spread their message. A number of passers-by and street vendors gathered around the group.

The protesters called for tourism that respects cultural norms, saying Gulf tourists visit to violate Egyptian women. Foreign tourists who do not respect the Islamic traditions should also be more strictly regulated, they said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago

Religion and politics just don't mix and always results in bad endings.

Claire M.
Claire M6 years ago

Its OK to notice that religion has made impacts on governments. Its quite another thing to allow your self to become comfortable with it and participate in dangerous normalizing trends. It is not OK for religion to have controls over government and people. Only when its a matter of personal choice is religion a good thing. Not anywhere , not at any time has it ever not led to subjugation of the poor and brutal slaughter of those who object when government and religion become entangled. Power is best left disbursed and checks and balances within governments that are not controlled by ancient theology originally designed to control masses of people is the only way to effective but fair government.

It is my opinion that we in America who are of sound mind also do not want a theology for government.

Allan Yorkowitz
.6 years ago

The fear is, what organization will promise the Egyptian people the moon, then not deliver. If only they could distance themselves from a religious mind set....

Liz Edwards
Joan Edwards6 years ago

Religion and State are one thing. Spirit and State have nothing in common with each other.
Yeah, some people like to believe that Religion and State are separate but if you'll notice: a lot of countries in the world look like their religion. Right down to what clothing they wear ( saris, turbans, burqas, veils, etc). It's their law. It's their way of life; always has been. Their laws are governed by religious doctrine. Even Christian Nations have religious law. What are some of our laws? you ask. Take Christmas and Easter ~ Statutory holidays. Marriage for another, especially Catholic. Obeying the Ten Commandments is obeying the Law. Not all that long ago it was the Law to burn witches. Need I mention all the deviousness going on between state and religion in the medieval days (and maybe still going on). Plus the fact that Christian churches are 'tax free'.

It's too bad that people of places like Egypt cannot seem to collaborate on any issues of religion.
But let's look in our own back yard, speaking of religious intolerance. 'Caucasian Christians only need apply. Everybody else - go home!' 'No Muslim churches in my neighbourhood!'

Religion is, in some degrees, ingrained in all of us.
So is intolerance.

pam w.
pam w6 years ago

Islam has NEVER allowed freedom of thought, speech, artistic expression or equal rights for women. Anyone who imagines Egypt can maintain a non-theocratic government needs to think again.

Jayna W.
Jayna W6 years ago

No one in their right mind would want a Theocracy. Let us perform a thought experiment based on an Einsteinian model of what a theocracy would look like. Let's us suppose that 100% of a population voted for a particular religion to rule the land. Further suppose that not everyone agreed as to which tenets of scripture should be law, or to the extent that that scripture should be applied. There would be much sectarian disagreement and civil unrest would break out. There would be violence and protest on the streets. The majority party would do everything in their power to stop the minority factions. Suppose the majority party eliminated all factional opposition. Pretty soon, there would be disagreements within the remaining majority party over the interpretation of scripture. Internal warfare would once again break out and the process would be repeated until the minority offenders would be eliminated. Pretty soon, only the few "pure" would remain. And soon only one would be left. Of course, this is a perfect model. But the point is that no two people will ever completely agree as to how to interpret their scriptures; not completely. This is why religion and spiritual living are personal affairs. It is between a person and their own concept of God. A person's religion should never, ever be a matter of public issue.