Young Arabs believe religion is key to their identity


Young Arabs believe that religion is essential to their identity, but also say that it plays too much of a role in today’s Middle East, according to newly released findings from the 2018 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey.
The findings were unveiled at a special German-Arab Friendship Association event hosted by Ali Abdulla Al Ahmed, the UAE Ambassador to Germany, at the Embassy of the UAE in Berlin.
The event, which welcomed more than 80 guests, including MPs, diplomats academics and business leaders, were told that youth in the Gulf states are more likely to see religion as key to their identity, with 89 percent agreeing with the statement “my religion is central to my identity” compared to 74 percent in the Levant countries, comprising Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and the Palestinian Territories.
However, two-thirds (68 percent) of youth in the GCC also agreed with the statement “religion plays too big a role in the Middle East”, compared to 56 percent in the Levant.
Al Ahmed said: “The UAE is a young country, both in terms of when we were established, and in terms of our population. As we move beyond our dependence on our natural bounty of hydrocarbons, it is youth that will be our biggest asset.
“We are fortunate that, from our earliest days, our leadership has always focused on the issues most important to youth, especially education and employment, so our young people today are empowered to face the challenges and opportunities of our future diversified economy.”
Sunil John, founder & CEO of ASDA’A BCW and president of BCW Middle East, who presented the findings, added: “As the only European country to make the top five nations which Arab youth would choose to live in and emulate, the findings from the Arab Youth Survey clearly show an appreciation and recognition of Germany among the region’s youth.
“What’s more ambiguous in this year’s findings is the attitudes towards religion among young Arabs. Young people across the region clearly believe religion is central to their identity; it’s interesting, though, that a majority also believe it plays too big a role in defining the region itself.”
The annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey is one of the most important pieces of research produced in the Middle East and offers unique insight into the attitudes and aspirations of the region’s biggest demographic.
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