Moroccans are becoming less religious, a survey finds

Moroccans interviewed by a survey, conducted by the Arab Barometer, said that they are turning their backs on religion. The findings of the survey show that Moroccans prefer the policies of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan over the ones of President Donald Trump.

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Hassan II mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. / Ph. DR

Moroccans are turning their backs on religion, according to an in-depth survey conducted in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Compiled by BBC News Arabic and the Arab Barometer, a research network that provides insight into the social, political, and economic attitudes and values of ordinary citizens across the Arab world, the survey interviewed more than 25,000 people from 11 countries, namely Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Jordan and Yemen.

Answering questions related to women’s rights, migration, security and sexuality, answers provided by Moroccans revealed that they are getting less religious. More than 10% of the Moroccan citizens who were questioned about the rise of the non-religious in the period between 2018 and 2019 said that they are not religious. In 2013, less than 5% of Moroccan respondents said the same, the survey shows.

Commenting on these trends, the authors of the research indicated that «since 2013, the number of people across the region (MENA) identifying as 'not religious' has risen from 8% to 13%». «The rise is greatest in the under 30s, among whom 18% identify as not religious», they added.

Women's rights and homosexuality

The survey explains that while most people across the MENA region «supported the right of a woman to become prime minister or president», a big portion of them «believe that husbands should always have the final say on family decisions». This is not the case for Morocco, where «fewer than half the population think a husband should always be the ultimate decision-make», the same source pointed out.

Indeed, around 75% of Moroccan respondents said that it is completely acceptable to have a woman president or prime minister, while less than 50% of them said that husbands should have the final say in all family decisions.

Surprisingly, 25% of Moroccan respondents said that they accept having «relatives kill a family member, typically a woman, for allegedly bringing dishonor onto the family». Meanwhile, 21% of Moroccans questioned about homosexuality said that they accept it.

Erdogan over Donald Trump's policies

Talking politics, nearly all citizens from the 11 countries surveyed «put Donald Trump's Middle East policies last» when comparing them to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s approaches.

In Morocco, Donald Trump and Putin lost to Erdogan, who received the support of more than 50% of the respondents.

In the MENA region, Israel is seen as the greatest threat to its countries. 27% of Moroccan respondents share the same opinion, while 11% of them see the United States as one of the greatest threats to the country.

When it comes to emigrating, more than 40% of Moroccans interviewed by the survey said that they are thinking about leaving the Kingdom for another country. The biggest portion of these Moroccan citizens see Europe as the best destination for them.

For the record, data compiled by the survey was based on research conducted between 2018 and 2019.

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