Palestine is a de jure sovereign state found in the Middle East, which is recognized by 136 members of the UN and is an observer non-member of the UN. Palestine claims the Gaza strip and the West Bank and has declared Jerusalem as its capital while the city of Ramallah is the administrative center. As of 2016, the state of Palestine had a population of 4,816,503 ranking as the 123rd with the highest population in the world. Palestine is one of the most homogenous societies regarding religion in the whole of the Middle East, as 93% of the population is Muslim. Other religions include Christianity, Judaism, Samaritans, and Druze religions among others.
Islam In Palestine
The majority of the Palestine population is Muslim of the Sunni sect, and they account for 93% of the total population. Palestinian Muslims consider Jerusalem as an important part of their religion, with the Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem being regarded as the 3rd holiest site in the Muslim world. According to Islam, it is believed that Mohammed was taken from the sacred mosque in Mecca to the mosque of Al-Aqsa in the night journey. Accessing the site poses challenges to Palestinians because it involves several formalities, with casual visits being prohibited. Muslims in Palestine practice their religion with some dimensions to the popular religion. In the recent past radicalization has taken root with the interpretation of religion replacing the more tolerant and informal understating of society and religion.
Other Religions In Palestine
Christianity accounts for 6% of all Palestinians worldwide, but in Palestine, they account for 0.6% of the population. Palestinian Christians belong to the denominations such as the Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Catholicism, and other denominations of the Protestant faith.
Other religions in Palestine include Judaism and Druze or Samaritan religions. In territories which are considered Palestinian, there are Jews settlers who number about 400,000, who identify themselves as Palestinian Jews although they are considered Israeli citizens.
Religious Freedom In Palestine
There is no constitution for the state of Palestine, and the basic laws assume that Islam is the religion of the state and therefore secures the freedom of religion. The principles of sharia law are integrated into the legislature.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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