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What do Muslims in Western Europe think about homosexuality?


Newswise РFrequency of mosque attendance, country of origin norms, time since migration, and experiences of discrimination all play a role in how Muslims in Western Europe view homosexuality. Niels Spierings of Radboud University and Antje R̦der of Philipps University in Marburg came to this conclusion based on research they conducted among 2,783 Muslims in Western Europe and published in International migration review December 22.

It is often assumed that Muslims in Western Europe have more negative attitudes towards homosexuality because of religion. Spierings and Röder’s research explores whether this is the case and how it is linked to migration and discrimination.

They found that Muslims in Western Europe who feel more connected to their religion and frequent the mosque often have more conservative attitudes towards homosexuality. In addition, the impact of mosque attendance is stronger among Muslim migrants who grew up in Europe. “It may seem paradoxical,” says Spierings, “but if we turn the situation around, it is quite logical: people who have been socialized in Europe and who go to the mosque less often seem more detached from the norms that apply in Europe. their parents. ‘ native country.”

“Certainly we find that the attitudes of first generation Muslim migrants are shaped more by their origins. In countries like Iraq and Somalia, for example, homosexuality is punishable by death and people are arrested for it. Migrants who grew up in these countries are, on average, more negative towards homosexuality than Muslims who come from countries where it is not prohibited, like Turkey or Macedonia ”, explains Spierings.

“For second generation or ‘one and a half’ generation Muslims – Muslims who were born abroad but raised here – an important factor are the opinions on homosexuality of the population of the European country to which they have moved. immigrant. Thus, second generation migrants living in the Netherlands are, on average, more tolerant of homosexuality than those living in Portugal.

Finally, research shows that the impact of mosque attendance is stronger among groups of Muslims who themselves experience more discrimination. “This suggests that the very group that feels least welcome in society is more inclined to take a more conservative stance. It’s almost a vicious cycle in which discrimination against Muslims based on their culture and religion actually reinforces this cultural stereotype.

Differences between Arab and Western European countries

Earlier this year, Spierings, together with his colleague Saskia Glas (Radboud University), published a study among 9,000 Muslims in Arab countries on how Muslims practice their religion and what they think about it. homosexuality and homosexuals. “There are clear differences between the causes we found among Muslims in Western Europe in this survey and the causes we found in the previous study. This shows that religion plays a contextual role; beliefs depend on the environment. For example, different norms regarding homosexuality prevail here, and beliefs primarily respond to the debate over integration and discrimination. In contrast, in the Middle East, they are more linked to the debate on imperialism and neo-colonialism.

Back in Europe, the numbers suggest that social integration is taking place in terms of Muslims’ attitudes towards homosexuality, but factors like mosque attendance may slow this development. The group that grows up in Western Europe is more likely to adopt “local” values.

Spierings: “The results of this study underscore the importance of socialization. It is not true that a Muslim will always have a negative attitude towards homosexuality. Someone who grows up in Western Europe will be more inclined to adopt the point of view of the locals. Education, social environment and other factors play an important role in this regard.

For the study, the researchers used a questionnaire completed by 2,973 Muslims in 17 Western European countries. Respondents were asked about their background, religiosity and attitudes towards homosexuality and other topics.