Attitudes to Muslims in Britain are considerably more negative than attitudes to Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. In other words, it is not being a religious minority in itself that make Muslims a target for prejudice. However, the level of religious belief and commitment among Muslims is on average higher.
This, combined with media reports which focus on cultural differences, may inspire a view of Islam as a threat to secular liberalism, as discussed in my 2011 paper on religion and attitudes to immigration.
This view may be especially pronounced among those who took an active stand against their parents’ generation on questions of traditional religiosity, gender equality and individual autonomy.
Such a perception of cultural threat makes Muslims a target of prejudice for the young as well as the old. As Sobolewska and Ali’s analysis shows, these views may be fuelled by uneven media coverage in left wing as well as right wing newspapers.
…. In summary, the disproportionate unpopularity of Muslims as marriage prospects for close relatives is probably not the result of a general objection to cultural difference which is taking over from a general hostility to physical difference. Rather, a particular negative perception of a specific religious group has been reinforced by news reports, and created new justifications for prejudice. [Democratic Audit UK] Read more