Evangelical Christians Harbor Least Favorable View of Islam

March 22, 2006

Source: Inter Press Service News Agency


On March 22, 2006 Inter Press Service News Agency reported, "Evangelical Protestants tend to view Islam much more unfavourably than do mainline U.S. Protestants and Catholics, according to a new analysis of recent public opinion surveys published here Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. The analysis, much of which is based on findings of a major poll carried out last summer by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press, found that a strong plurality of 50 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe that Islam 'is more likely than others to encourage violence among its believers,' while only about a third of mainline Protestants and Catholics accepted that view... Less than one third of evangelical Protestants said they had a favourable view of Islam, significantly less than the 48 percent plurality of Catholics and 42 percent of mainline Protestants and 'seculars,' those who defined themselves as atheists or agnostics, who expressed positive views. Asked whether, in their view, the Islamic religion does not encourage violence more than other major religions, only 31 percent of evangelicals agreed, while 57 percent of mainline Protestants, 54 percent of seculars, and 43 percent of Catholics took that view... Majorities of evangelicals (52 percent), mainline Protestants (53 percent), and Catholics (61 percent) said they had favourable opinions of Muslim-Americans, while seculars (49 percent) were the least favourable... Pew found that personal contact with Muslim-Americans often appeared to have a dramatic effect on respondents' views. Among those 'who knew anyone who is Muslim,' 74 percent said they had a favourable view, and only 12 percent said they had an unfavourable impression. Among those who said they didn’t know any Muslims, only 50 percent said their views were favourable."