How Muslims and Westerners Consider Each Other

Posted on December 9, 2006


The demographics of Muslims in Europe is varied. France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, an estimated 5 million primarily of Algerian and Moroccan extraction. In Spain, Muslims are largely of Moroccan origin while Britain’s Muslims consist primarily of Pakistians, and Germany’s Muslims are mainly Turkish in origin. A recently released 2006 report from the Pew Research Center entitled ‘The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other’ reveals some interesting insights in Muslims in Europe.  

French Muslims have many concerns similar with their co-religionists in neighboring countries. At the top of their list of  concerns is  joblessness. More than half of French Muslims (52%) are very worried about unemployment among Muslims — the primary issue driving last fall’s rioters. This percentage is similar to those expressed by Spanish, German and, less so, by British Muslims.

On a positive note, interfaith relations are doing better in France than in other Western countries, including possibly the US. When comparing the views that French Muslims hold about people of other faiths and the views held by Muslims elsewhere in Europe, French Muslims even outnumber the United States in favorable ratings of Christians (91% of French Muslims vs. 88% of Americans). Further, 71% of French Muslims hold a positive view of people of the Jewish faith, compared with only 38% of German Muslims and 32% of British Muslims.

At a more global level, in the aftermath of the cartoon riots, terrorist attacks in London, and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, most Muslims and Westerners are convinced that relations between them are generally bad these days. Non-Muslims in the West see Muslims as fanatical, violent, and as lacking tolerance. By contrast, Muslims see Non-Muslims in the West as selfish, arrogant and violent.

Source: The Pew Research Center, August 17, 2006
For the complete report, please download The Great Divide: How Westerners and Muslims View Each Other

Posted in: Islam