World

Common Ground for Europeans and Muslims Among Them

Similar views on honor killings, crimes of passion, the death penalty

This article is the third in a three-part series examining how views on moral issues compare among citizens in key Western and Muslims living in three European capitals. Part one looked at the differences among Western citizens and Muslims. Part two focused on common ground for Americans (especially those for whom religion plays an important role in their lives) and Muslims. Part three focuses on common ground for residents in three European countries and Muslims living in their capitals.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gallup Poll findings reveal that on some moral issues, the British, German, and French publics share common ground with the Muslims living in the three countries' capitals.

Muslims are often stereotypically portrayed as condoning honor killings, but the Gallup Poll findings show that Europeans surveyed and Muslim respondents in three European cities have similar views on this issue. Just 1% of Germans and Britons and 4% of the French say honor killings (murders committed by a man against a female relative who is perceived as having "dishonored" the family) are morally acceptable, compared with 3% of Berlin and London Muslims and 5% of Paris Muslims.

Next I'm going to read you a list. For each item on the list, please tell me whether you personally believe that it is morally acceptable or morally wrong:

Crimes of passion also elicit low levels of moral acceptability: just 2% of Britons, 1% of Germans, and equally low percentages of Muslims in all three European capitals believe such crimes are morally acceptable. The French public (8%), however, is slightly more likely than the other populations polled to say crimes of passion are morally acceptable. Until about 30 years ago, French law afforded a man who had killed his spouse or a close female relative, after catching her in the act of adultery or illegitimate sexual relations, a lighter sentence. Although the leniency provision was removed from the penal code in 1975, observers note the French still tend to view such crimes (and their perpetrators) with indulgence. Gallup did not ask the moral acceptability of honor killings and crimes of passion questions in the United States.

Next I'm going to read you a list. For each item on the list, please tell me whether you personally believe that it is morally acceptable or morally wrong:

On the issue of the death penalty, Europeans' and Muslim respondents' views vary; however, both groups are far less likely than the U.S. public or religious Americans are to believe it is morally acceptable. Forty-three percent of the British, 39% of the French, and 22% of the Germans, compared with 62% of Americans and 59% of religious Americans say the death penalty is morally acceptable. As a point of comparison, about 3 in 10 London Muslims (31%) and fewer than 2 in 10 Paris (19%) and Berlin Muslims (19%) say the same.

Next I'm going to read you a list. For each item on the list, please tell me whether you personally believe that it is morally acceptable or morally wrong:

Conclusion

Taken together, the Gallup Poll findings show that far from speaking with one voice, residents of Western nations polled express a wide spectrum of attitudes on moral issues. Across the Muslim populations in the three European capital cities, opinions also vary, but Muslims and Westerners, especially religious Americans, share some common moral ground. Muslims polled express similar views to those of the European public on the moral acceptability of the death penalty. Furthermore, European Muslims respondents' opinions align more closely with those of religious Americans on the issues of extramarital sex and suicide. Considering that across the West, at least for those surveyed in the polls, the moral compass points to a different north on many issues, the use of moral values as the determining factor in the integration debate is disingenuous. Tolerance requires the competition of ideas, including acceptance of different attitudes toward moral values.

Survey Methods

U.S. public: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted May 8-11, 2008, with 1,017 national adults aged 18 and older. Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone only). For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. For results based on the 527 sample of religious Americans, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

British, French, and German public: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted between December and January 2007 with at least 1,200 adults, aged 15 and older, in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

Muslim populations in Paris, Berlin, and London: Results are based on face-to-face interviews conducted between November and December 2006 with at least 500 adults, aged 15 and older, in Paris and London. In London and Paris, a probability sample of neighborhoods where Muslim penetration was at least 5% was used. In Berlin, results are based on telephone interviews conducted between January and February 2007 with at least 500 adults aged 15 and older. Also, in Berlin, random-digit dialing was used (dialing of first and family names with a high probability of leading to a Muslim household). For results based on the total sample of adults in each city, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.
Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/107521/common-ground-europeans-muslims-among-them.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030