Many American Catholics think poorly of Muslims, especially if they don’t have friends, relatives or coworkers who identify as Muslim, according to a new study on religious intolerance. Only 14 percent of American Catholics view Muslims favorably, the study released Tuesday from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., found.
The multi-year research project surveyed 1,027 self-identified Catholics who said there were no commonalities between the minority faiths in the U.S. The study also concluded that Catholic media outlets largely only refer to “Islamic” when reporting on violence committed by the Islamic State terrorist group. In all, about one in three Catholics in the study said they had unfavorable views toward Muslims.
“We hope the report gives Catholic leaders and educators insights into how ordinary Catholics view Islam and interfaith dialogue,” Jordan Denari Duffner, the report’s author, said in a statement.
Getting to know an actual Muslim helped improve attitudes. About 30 percent of respondents said they personally knew a Muslim, which is less than the national average. The Catholics who had Muslims in their everyday lives had more positive views of Islam, while those who did not not were twice as likely to express a negative reaction toward Muslims.
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