Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 July 2019

Half of French and Germans say Islam clashes with the West

UAE holds favourable views on world religions compared to other MENA countries, says survey

Muslims in the Middle East tend to have more favourable views of Christianity compared to Europeans view of Islam. Reuters
Muslims in the Middle East tend to have more favourable views of Christianity compared to Europeans view of Islam. Reuters

Almost half of the French and German public believe Islam is incompatible with western society, according to a survey published on Monday.

The latest YouGov poll found that Muslim majority countries have a more favourable view of Christianity.

In contrast, all four Western countries polled held negative views about Islam compared to other religions.

Thirty-six percent of Brits, 46 percent of French and 47 percent of Germans believe there is a fundamental clash between Islam and ‘Western values’.

The US showed a similar trend with 36 percent of Americans supporting a ‘clash’ of values view.

In contrast, just a quarter of Saudis polled say they feel that there is a clash between Christianity and the values of their country.

Half of Egyptians believe Christianity is compatible with their country, while the majority of respondents from the United Arab Emirates also have a favourable view of Christianity in the region.

UAE tended to match Western countries on views towards Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

The research comes on the back of a historic visit by Pope Francis to the UAE on Sunday, the first visit any pope has made to the Arabian Peninsula.

The Pope was given the title-deed to the first church in the UAE as a gift at the end of a meeting in the Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Anti-Islam sentiment has been on the rise in Europe, with far-right political groups in Germany, the UK and France gaining support.

"The study is a snapshot of general sentiment and not long enough yet to tell you why [views are held]", said Joel Rogers, academic director at YouGov.

Campaign group Tell MAMA, which measures attacks on Muslims in the UK, says physical and verbal abuse is often gendered to target Muslim women in particular.

“Of equal concern are the rising levels of aggression that are being shown to victims at a street level. This is deeply concerning and possibly indicates that something is changing for the worst,” said Director of Tell MAMA Iman Atta in November 2018 following the release of new research on anti-Muslim abuse.

Updated: February 4, 2019 08:36 PM

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