Seven out of 10 Muslim youth want Quran to replace Constitution – By Debra Chong

The Malaysian Insider | BANGI, 11-Jul-2011 — A new survey among Malaysian Muslim youth released today show a large majority back the idea for the Quran to replace the Federal Constitution as the country’s highest law.

The survey in Malaysia by independent pollster Merdeka Center revealed that about 72 per cent of Muslims aged 15 to 25 support the Islamic holy book as the highest law; 25 per cent disagreed.

About 71.5 per cent support the cutting off of hands as punishment for convicted thieves, and 92.5 per cent agree to the death sentence for murderers.

Support for whipping as punishment for those who drink alcohol is at 92.4 per cent.

While the young Muslims surveyed appear to be religiously conservative at first glance, their views in real life appear to contradict the show of support for this change.

Only 18.1 per cent confessed to read the Quran often; 8.6 per cent say they never do; and the rest say they read it sometimes.

According to Merdeka Center director Ibrahim Suffian(picture), the conflict is due to the perception among Muslims that the Quran, being God’s law, has a higher status than the Federal Constitution.Only 28.7 per cent say they always perform the compulsory five daily prayers.

“Why many see it so is partly because in Muslim life, the Quran is . . .  complete,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Many are also not exposed to discussions on the Constitution and the position of Islam within it in the current education system,” he added.

The survey polled 1,060 people between October and November last year.

About 70 per cent of Malaysian Muslims surveyed were ethnically Malay, while the remaining minority were mostly Bumiputera Muslims from Sabah.

The survey also included Muslim youth in Indonesia, home to the world’s biggest Muslim population.

In the same survey to find out their priorities for the future, only 20 per cent of Indonesian Muslim youth answered “Yes” when asked if the Quran should replace their country’s constitution.

The survey “Values, dreams, Ideals: Muslim Youth in Southeast Asia” was jointly conducted by Merdeka Center with University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Goethe Institute Malaysia, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and, on the Indonesian side, the Lembaga Survei Indonesia.