U.S., Canada Show More Interfaith Cohesion Than Europe

May 7, 2009

Author: Adam Sitte

Source: GALLUP


In its first annual report on the state of faith relations in countries spanning four continents, Gallup and the Coexist Foundation find Americans and Canadians are more likely than European respondents surveyed to be classified as "integrated."

Other key findings from The Gallup Coexist Index 2009: A Global Study of Interfaith Relations show that almost 4 in 10 British (35%) and German (38%) respondents are considered "isolated."

Gallup defines "isolated" respondents as those who are unlikely to be members of any particular faith group and who tend to believe in the truth of their perspective above all others. They do not want to know about other religions. They also neither respect nor feel respected by those of other faiths. "Tolerant" individuals have a "live-and-let-live attitude toward people of other faiths, and they generally feel that they treat others of different faiths with respect. However, they are not likely to learn from or about other religions. "Integrated" respondents as those who go beyond a "live-and-let-live" attitude and actively seek to know more about and learn from others of different religious traditions. They believe that most faiths make a positive contribution to society. Furthermore, integrated people do not only feel respect toward people from other faith traditions, but they also feel respected by them.

Findings from the report, disseminated in partnership with the Coexist Foundation, a U.K.-based charitable organization, are particularly relevant to the debate about the integration of ethnic and religion minorities. Specifically, the poll findings show that while European Muslims have embraced their nations, their nations have not embraced them. British, French, and German Muslims are at least as likely as their respective general populations to say they identify either "extremely strongly" or "very strongly" with their country of residence. At the same time, European Muslims surveyed are far more likely than the British, French, and German publics overall to say they identify strongly with their faith.