Survey: Religious UK youth support Muslims

U. WARWICK (UK) — Early results from a survey of 10,000 UK teens suggest churchgoing young Christians are more supportive of Muslim peers than their non-religious counterparts.

The survey involved 13- to 15-year-old students, 2,000 each from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and London. Preliminary results, based on responses from the first 3,000 of those young people, were presented last week at a conference at the University of Warwick.

The three key questions demonstrating that churchgoing young Christians give much more support to their Muslim peers in comparison with young people who have no religious faith yielded the following results:

Muslims should be allowed to wear the headscarf in schools:

* no religion: 60 percent
* nominal Christian: 59 percent
* practicing Christian: 79 percent

    Muslims should be allowed to wear the Burka in schools:

    * no religion: 51 percent
    * nominal Christian: 52 percent
    * practicing Christian: 63 percent

      I am in favor of Muslim schools:

      * no religion: 18 percent
      * nominal Christian: 23 percent
      * practicing Christian: 29 percent

        “This new research shows that the difficulties in Britain over religious diversity are caused less by conflicts between religions and more by the hostility to religions shown by some young people who have no religious identity of their own,” says Robert Jackson, director of the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit at the University of Warwick. “Young people who practice a faith have the opportunity to learn about their own faith and about people of other faiths.”

        “The place of religious education in schools offers a crucial opportunity for those young people who have no faith of their own to learn what religious faith means for young Muslims and young members of other faiths. If we stop investing in religious education we are fueling religious discrimination and religious hostility into the future.”

        Leslie Francis, who co-led the survey and is a professor at Warwick adds: “This survey has really given voice to the views of young people from across Britain into their experience of living in a culture that increasingly reflects religious diversity. Young people from different religious backgrounds clearly show respect for each other. But the challenge facing schools today is to enable those young people who do not come from a religious background themselves to gain insight into how their peers from religious homes feel about things.

        The survey was sponsored by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council.

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