Many people in mostly Christian countries believe values clash with Islam – poll by Harriet Sherwood for The Guardian
GNN Note – While this was actually reported prior to the Pope visiting the Arab peninsula it may be more fitting now than when original published. We know a lot more today than we did last week.
Large numbers of people in Christian-majority countries in the west see a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of their nation, according to a survey.
However, significantly fewer people in the Middle East and North Africa view Christianity in the same way.
Nearly half the people taking part in the poll in France and Germany, and nearly one-third in the US and the UK, thought there was a clash between Islam and the values of society in their country.
When asked the same question about Christianity, 25% of people in Saudi Arabia and 22% of Algerians said there was a clash with the values of their country, but the proportions fell to 13% in the United Arab Emirates and 7% in Egypt.
The poll on attitudes towards religion, carried out by YouGov, was commissioned by the Muslim Council of Elders to mark the firstpapal visit to the Arabian peninsula. Pope Francis is attending an interfaith conference in Abu Dhabi and will hold an open-air mass on Tuesday expected to be attended by 120,000 people.
Campaigners for religious freedom are highlighting the significance of the historic papal visit to the birthplace of Islam, and hope Francis’s message of peaceful coexistence will be heard in other countries in the region, where many Christians are denied rights or face persecution and death.
The proportion of Christians in the Middle East has fallen to about 4% of the population from about 20% before the first world war, according to the Vatican.