Muslim-Western Tensions Persist – Common Concerns About Islamic Extremism

Muslim and Western publics continue to see relations between them as generally bad, with both sides holding negative stereotypes of the other.

…. Across the nations surveyed, Christians and Muslims differ in the degree to which religion defines their identity. Among most of the Muslim publics polled, Muslims tend to identify with their religion, rather than their nationality. This is particularly true in Pakistan, where 94% think of themselves primarily as Muslim instead of Pakistani.

Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are exceptions to this pattern, however — more Muslims in both countries identify first with their nationality rather than with their religion. And many Muslims refuse to choose between nation and religion, volunteering that they identify with both.

Throughout Europe, most Christians think of themselves primarily in terms of their national identity. Fully 90% of French Christians take this view. The clear exception is the U.S., where Christians are divided: 46% primarily identify as American and 46% as Christian. Seven-in-ten white evangelical Christians in the U.S. identify first with their religion.

Both of the major religious communities in Israel identify primarily with their religion. Nearly six-in-ten (57%) Jews identify first as Jews, while among the country’s Muslim community 77% think of themselves first as Muslims. Read more