Nearly half of French and Germans think Islam clashes with their values: Survey

Nearly half of French and Germans think Islam clashes with their values: Survey
Copyright Flickr/Daniele Febei
By Alice Tidey
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Respondents in mostly Christian countries more likely to think Islam is not compatible with the values of their society, whereas fewer in Muslim-majority nations think Christianity clashes with their values.


Nearly half of French and Germans believe Islam is incompatible with the values of their nations, a survey revealed on Sunday.

However the research by pollster YouGov found that fewer people in Muslim-majority countries think Christianity fundamentally clashes with their country's values.

It comes as Pope Francis embarked on a 48-hour visit to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with a meeting with Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Shaikh Ahmed Mohammad al-Tayeb scheduled for February 5.

Islam in Western, Christian-majority countries

The month-long survey found that "substantial portions of Western respondents" perceived a clash between Islam and the values of society in their country.

Nearly half of respondents in Germany (47%) and France (46%) affirmed so. The view was also the dominant one in the US and Britain although slightly less prevalent at 36% and 38% respectively.

The opposite stance — that Islam is compatible with the values of the country they live in — was the most supported in Britain, albeit at just 24%, and the least in Germany (17%).

A separate survey conducted by US and British respondents found the results to be in stark contrast to attitudes towards other religions.

Only 14% and 6% of those surveyed in the US and the UK viewed Buddhism as clashing with their countries' values. The figures rose slightly when asked about Sikhism and Hinduism but remained at or under 15%.

General impressions of Islam were also less favourable than other religions with 53% of German and 47% of French respondents affirming that they felt unfavourable towards Islam — much higher figures than towards other faiths.

The US and Britain showed a similar trend but once again to a lesser degree at 37% and 32% respectively.

Christianity in Muslim-majority countries

In contrast, respondents in the Middle East and North Africa were less likely to say there is a fundamental clash between Christianity and the values of society in their country.

According to the US-based Pew Research Center, the Christian share of the overall population in the Middle East had dropped to 5% in 2010 from 10% in 1990.

Respondents in Saudi Arabia were the most likely to support that view at 25%, followed by 22% in Algeria, 13% in the UAE and 7% in Egypt.

Notably, 50% of Egyptians and 31% of respondents in the UAE backed the opposite view that Christianity is generally compatible with the values of society.

Christianity is also the religion that gathered the least unfavourable opinion in the muslim-majority countries surveyed. Algerian respondents (43%) were the most likely to feel unfavourable towards Christianity, followed by Saudi Arabia (42%), Egypt (31%) and the UAE (13%).

Meanwhile, unfavourable view towards Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism reached over 62% in all of them.

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