Many Finns remain somewhat uncomfortable with Islam, suggests a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
Almost two-thirds (62%) of Finns revealed they believe Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the culture and values in Finland. Over a quarter (28%), meanwhile, indicated that they would not accept a Muslim as a family member and 14 per cent that they would not accept a Muslim as a neighbour.
Similar, albeit less pronounced, negative attitudes persist toward Jews. Over a tenth (13%) of Finns answered ‘no’ when asked if they would accept one as a family member and five per cent ‘no’ when asked if they would accept one as a neighbour.
The Pew Research Center, a non-partisan fact tank based in Washington DC, the United States, published a 168-page report on the results of its survey on public views and attitudes in 15 countries across Western Europe on Tuesday, 29 May. A total of 24,599 randomly selected adults responded to the survey between April and August 2017.
Finns, the survey found, have one of the most harshest attitudes towards Islam and Muslims.
Finland and Italy are the only two countries where over a half of respondents – 62 per cent in the former and 53 per cent in the latter – view that there is a fundamental contradiction between Islam and the national culture and values. In France, Portugal and Sweden, only roughly a third of respondents were of that opinion.
The primary focus of the survey was on Christianity.
“Most Christians in Western Europe today are non-practising, but Christian identity still remains a meaningful religious, social and cultural marker,” the Pew Research Center writes in its summary of the key findings.
Christianity, thereby, has an impact on public opinions on issues such as immigration, nationalism and other religions. Both church-going and non-practising Christians, for example, are generally more likely than their religiously non-affiliated compatriots to be in favour of reducing immigration and have reservations about immigrants from Africa and the Middle East.
“There are, however, exceptions to this general pattern,” adds the Pew Research Centre. “In Finland, for example, just one-in-five church-going Christians favour reducing immigration (19%), compared to larger shares among religiously unaffiliated adults (33%) and non-practising Christians (37%).”
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Roni Lehti – Lehtikuva