Study: Christians in west Europe less tolerant of immigrants

Associated Press


Christians in western Europe are less accepting of immigrants and non-Christians than people without religious affiliations, a study published this week that was based on a 15-country survey found.

The Pew Research Center report revealed that Christians – whether or not they are churchgoers ∫ are more likely than western Europeans who don’t identify with a religion to express negative views of Muslims, Jews and migrants. They also are more inclined to think their country’s culture and values are superior.

“On balance, more respondents say immigrants are honest and hardworking than say the opposite,” the study’s authors wrote.

“But a clear pattern emerges: Both church-attending and nonpracticing Christians are more likely than religiously unaffiliated adults in Western Europe to voice anti-immigrant and anti-minority views.”

The study was based on a telephone survey of 24,599 randomly selected adults in the 15 countries. Pew researchers compared the attitudes of respondents who described themselves as practicing Christians, nonpracticing Christians and religiously unaffiliated, including atheists and agnostics.

One of their findings was that ethnic Europeans as a whole hold “mixed views on whether Islam is compatible with their country’s values and culture.”

In Britain, 45 percent of churchgoing Christians and 47 percent of nonpracticing Christians agreed with the statement that “Islam is fundamentally incompatible with our values and culture, the survey showed. Among nonreligious Britons, 30 percent shared that view.

In France, nearly three-quarters of Christians who attend church, or 72 percent, agreed it was important to have French ancestry to be “truly French.” Among nonpracticing Christians, 52 percent took this position, compared to 43 percent of those without religious affiliations.

The survey was conducted during April-August 2017, after more than 2.3 million migrants and refugees had entered Europe during the previous two years, according to the European border control agency Frontex.

Some European countries, including Germany and Italy, have seen an anti-immigration backlash and nationalist political parties gaining support.

The survey found that Swedes were the least likely to express anti-migrant and anti-minority views, while Italians were the most likely.

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