Gallup poll shows stronger prejudice against Muslims in US

About 43 percent of Americans say they feel at least a little prejudice against Muslims, a significantly higher number than those who have prejudice against Christians, Jews or Buddhists, a recent Gallup report reveals.

The report, “Religious Perceptions in America: With an In-Depth Analysis of U.S. Attitudes Toward Muslims and Islam” also reveals Islam is the most negatively viewed out of the four religions. Nearly a third of Americans say their opinions about Islam are “not favorable at all.”

European Conditions: Findings of a Study On Group-Focused Enmity in Europe

The Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence has conducted a Europe-wide study on prejudices and enmity against various social groups. The representative study saw 8000 participants (1000 people respectively in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Hungary). They were interviewed about their view on Islam, homosexuality, immigration, an alleged “hierarchy between white and black people” or the allegedly “strong influence of Jews”. About fifty percent agreed to the statement that Islam was a religion of intolerance.

Many of the prejudices are shared in the different European countries, although the degree to which people agree, varies. Generally, stronger prejudices are held in Poland and Hungary, while the Netherlands and Britain showed the lowest. The longitudinal study of Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Andreas Zick and their research team is a first in its European-wide approach.

European Conditions: Findings of a Study on Group-Focused Enmity in Europe

The Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence has conducted a Europe-wide study on prejudices and enmity against various social groups. The representative study saw 8000 participants (1000 people respectively in the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Italy, Poland and Hungary). They were interviewed about their view on Islam, homosexuality, immigration, an alleged “hierarchy between white and black people” or the allegedly “strong influence of Jews”. About fifty percent agreed to the statement that Islam was a religion of intolerance.

Many of the prejudices are shared in the different European countries, although the degree to which people agree, varies. Generally, stronger prejudices are held in Poland and Hungary, while the Netherlands and Britain showed the lowest. The longitudinal study of Wilhelm Heitmeyer, Andreas Zick and their research team is a first in its European-wide approach.

Swiss high court rules UDC Muslim posters not racist

The Swiss federal high court has ruled that posters of Muslims prostrating in front of the Swiss federal palace, with the slogan “use your heads” is not racist. The court argued, with one judge noting reservations, that the posters do not fulfill legal requirements for racial discrimination.

The court said, in its decision not to hear a case brought by public authorities in Valais, that the interpretation of the law should not be so narrow as to endanger freedom of expression. The law makes it illegal to humiliate or use racial prejudice against others via images, text and other means of communication. The judges noted that no member of the Muslim community pressed charges.

Incoming NATO chief pledges to confront religious prejudice, but defends prior position over Muhammad cartoons

The incoming head of NATO Fogh Rasmussen called for a balance between free speech and respect for religious feelings, after a dispute over his support for the right to caricature the prophet Muhammad. Rasmussen, who received objections from Turkey about his suitability for NATO’s top job, said he plans to pay close attention to religious sensibilities and sensitivities when he takes over the post of secretary-general in August.

“I would never myself depict any religious figure, including the Prophet Muhammad, in a way that could hurt other people’s feelings, […] I respect Islam as one of the world’s major religions,” the former Danish prime minister said at a conference in Istanbul, Turkey.

Rasmussen tried to distance himself from the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons, but resisted calls to apologize for them, citing freedom of speech, and that his government could not be held responsible for the actions of Denmark’s free press.

The row over his appointment was brought to resolve after US President Barack Obama guaranteed that Turkish commands would be present at the alliance’s command, and that one of Rasmussen’s deputies would be a Turk.

Humorous designs by young Muslim geared to break prejudice

A graphic designer living in Germany launched an initiative to break rising prejudice against Muslims. Melih Kesmen says the idea to start with “styleislam” came up when insulting cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad was published in Denmark.

Kesmen says Muslims and Non-Muslims had to talk each other, adding “My intention was to make people curious with eye-catching messages on t-shirts.”

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Range of Muslim views not represented in media, says Dorothy Byrne

Broadcasters fail to fully represent the range of Muslim voices in Britain, the head of Channel 4 news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, said today. Byrne told the News Xchange 2008 conference in Valencia that there was a problem with the media making sweeping generalizations about Islam, which she said was “not at all helpful.”

Addressing a session looking at the representation of Islam in the news media, Byrne told delegates the findings of a report her network commissioned on the attitudes of British Muslims contrasted with their representation on UK TV news. “I think there is a strong tendency for broadcasters to go and interview young men outside mosques to find out what Muslims think. In our survey, we found that 48 percent of British Muslims do not actually attend mosques. Therefore you wouldn’t get an accurate picture of what people think,” she said. “They [British broadcasters] have a tendency to go to just one or two organizations for comment … one is the Muslim Council of Britain. In our survey, when we asked Muslims who they thought represented them only 11 percent of British Muslims thought the Muslim Council of Britain represented them, compared with 19 percent of people who thought their member of parliament represented them. I think we have got to be very thoughtful and careful,” she added.

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Disgraced critic of Islam launches children’s book

A disgraced former Dutch MP and outspoken critic of Islam has published a children’s book, about a friendship between a Muslim boy and a Jewish girl, that she says seeks to fight prejudice in both communities. Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been living under heavy guard since the 2004 murder of Theo van Gogh, himself a provocative critic of Islam, who directed a film she wrote that accused Islam of condoning violence against women. Her new book, “Adan and Eva,” tells the story of a Moroccan boy and a rich Jewish girl living in Amsterdam. Adan takes Eva to Koranic school, while Adan gets drunk on wine served at a Jewish meal. Their families eventually decide to break up the friendship and Eva is sent to boarding school in Switzerland, while Adan is banished to Morocco. “Everything starts at school. That is where children learn about each other and learn to respect each other. We live in a world of adult prejudice,” Hirsi Ali told De Telegraaf daily. “Reconciliation starts with children.”

Are Muslims in Britain an ethnic, racial or religious minority?

What kinds of discrimination legislation is there to protect people who are disadvantaged by involuntary identities? What is the thinking behind these protections and what is their outcome?_ A new study by Bristol University examines 30 years of government legislation and landmark legal rulings to consider the impact of these issues on racial and ethnic minorities, and finds that current approaches frequently treat anti-Muslim prejudice with less seriousness than other forms of discrimination. The research is published in the latest issue of _Patterns of prejudice’. The study, _The politics of voluntary and involuntary identities: are Muslims in Britain an ethnic, racial or religious minority?’, by Dr Nasar Meer, Research Associate in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, reveals that legal formulations of race and racism often ignore how Muslims are discriminated as a racial minority. Britain has taken a mainly gradual approach in outlawing discrimination based on gender, race and ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, as well as encouraging the monitoring of institutional under-representation among such groups.http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=5C074BF87DE7DEB440855E44&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News (link temporary; some news sites may require registration)