“Catholics” of all ages have similar negative impressions of Muslims, new data says
A new update to a 2016 study on Catholic perceptions of Islam finds little difference in answers from a variety of age groups and ethnicities.
The initial survey, “Danger and Dialogue: American Catholic Opinion and Portrayals of Islam,” was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the university’s Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia. The study, released last September, revealed that Catholics often have negative or limited views about Islam.
According to the data, three in 10 Catholics admit to having unfavorable views about Muslims, Catholics are less likely than the Americans in the general public to know a Muslim personally, and nearly 50 percent of Catholics can’t name any similarities between Catholicism and Islam.
When CARA broke down the numbers to reveal the age and ethnicity of respondents, which were released April 3, the usual differences were missing.
“Usually when CARA looks at Catholic data, there are huge differences by age, ethnicity,” said Mark Gray, senior research associate at CARA. “We don’t see the same differences in this survey that we’d expect. This shows that the attitudes/beliefs are generally widespread across the population.”
Jordan Denari Duffner, a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Bridge Initiative, said she was particularly surprised by the findings about age because she expected young Catholics would have more exposure to Muslims and more positive attitudes toward Muslims.
She also found it striking that most Catholics are not familiar with the church’s teaching on Islam, Muslims and interfaith dialogue in general (Its not Catholic teaching!) and that so few Catholic have heard of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council document on the Catholic Church’s relations with non-Christian religions.
Catholics of all ages have similar impressions of Muslims that are more negative than positive.
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