Arabian people are more accepting of honor killings than homosexuality, according to the largest and most in-depth survey undertaken of the Middle East and North Africa.
Honor killings, an act of killing of a family member for allegedly bringing dishonor onto the family, is, to those surveyed, more acceptable than being LGBTI.
Among the 250,000 interviewed by the BBC News Arabic team, many more than in 2013 identified as non-religious, and acceptance of a female prime minister was also great.
What did the survey say?
The BBC’s Arab Barometer research network team asked populations across Algeria, Morocco, Sudan, Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, and Palestinian territories from the West Bank various questions about politics, morality, and more.
However, disturbingly, the survey found that between the countries, the majority consider honor killings more acceptable than homosexuality.
Overall, acceptance of homosexuality was low or extremely low across the Arab region.
In fact, the only country which was more accepting of homosexuality than killing a member of family was Sudan. 14% of those surveyed believed honor killings to be acceptable, whereas 17% believe homosexuality to be acceptable.
Distressingly, Jordan had the biggest divide. While just 7% of those surveyed from the Western Asia country accept homosexuality, 21% found honor killings more palatable.
Lowest support for homosexuality was found in the Palestinian territories (West Bank) where just 5% accepted homosexuality. Just over 8% of citizens in the landlocked region support honor killings, in contrast.
Overall, the project interviewed 25,407 people face-to-face in 10 countries and the Palestinian territories.
While the Arab Barometer is a research network based at Princeton University. They have been conducting surveys like this since 2006.
As the survey was of Arab world opinion, it did not include Iran or Israel.
Why are they accepted?
LGBT بالعربي [Arabic] are an independent group of Syrian and Arab activists. The team spoke to Gay Star News about their thoughts on the survey results, and why the results may have emerged in the way that they did.
‘There are multiple reasons why it’s not accepted,’ they said. ‘Middle Eastern folk are Muslims, and Islam forbids this kind of activity and sees it as ”not natural.”‘
Moreover, the group pointed towards how socialization imbues within men a kind of ‘toxic masculinity,’ that, to an extent, enables men the ‘right to take women’s freedom.’
‘That’s why honor crimes are not just accepted but celebrated in the Middle East,’ the group said. As the act – typically enacted by the husband onto the wife – is justified by certain moral codes.