People in Denmark are much more open to Muslim neighbours and their family members than other Europeans, according to a US survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
The US pollster based in Washington, DC, found that 91 percent of Danes would be willing to accept Muslim neighbours, while 81 percent would be willing to accept a Muslim family member.
In the Netherlands, 96 percent would accept Muslim neighbours, and 88 percent feel positive about Islamic family members. In Norway 92 percent and 82 percent felt this way respectively, according to the survey.
Denmark is thus the joint-third most accepting country with regard to Muslim neighbours and third-most accepting with regard to Muslim family members.
The European part of the survey was done earlier, followed by a similar study in the US. Some 24 499 respondents had randomly been selected in 15 countries in Western Europe to answer the two questions for the survey conducted in 2017.
The Pew Research Center has now also surveyed the US public. In the United States, 89 percent said they would be willing to accept Muslim neighbours, while 79 percent indicated that they were willing to accept a Muslim family member.
For the United Kingdom, the numbers were slightly lower with 78 percent and 53 percent respectively.
Pew Research Center noted however that surveys in both the US and Western Europe were conducted by telephone. There is thus a tendency to give socially acceptable responses, and the results may overstate an acceptance of Muslims.
Even though respondents tended to react positively when asked about neighbours, they were less welcoming on whether to accept Islam in their societies, according to the think tank. At least half of those questioned thought that Islam was “fundamentally incompatible with (their country’s) culture and values”.
The other half thought that “there is no fundamental contradiction between Islam and (their country’s) culture and values”, the Center noted.
“We can’t give an exact answer as to why people can accept individual Muslims but are more critical of Islam. But we see a general trend of people being able to distinguish individuals, whom they can easily accept, while remaining critical of religious beliefs,” Pew Research Center deputy director of research Neha Sahgal said to Danish newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad.