The contact hypothesis and islamophobia

Betsy Cooper analyzes PRRI survey results and finds:

Fully two-thirds (67 percent) of people who talk with Muslims at least occasionally agree that Muslims are an important part of the American religious landscape. In contrast, fewer than half (45 percent) of those who have never spoken with a Muslim in the last year believe that American Muslims are an important part of the religious community here.

Social interaction with Muslims also influences views on U.S. refugee policy. Among Americans who have had at least occasional conversations with Muslims, nearly six in ten (58 percent) say the U.S. should allow refugees from Syria into the country provided they go through a security clearance. Americans who report no interactions with a Muslim are split: 46 percent are in favor of allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S., while 45 percent believe that they should not be allowed into the country at this time. [link]

I’m actually surprised at how low the high end of that scale is and how high the low end is. That is, I would think that more people who know Muslims would believe they are an important part of the religious landscape. And I am surprised that people who don’t know any Muslims like Muslims like them this much. In feels like this is a partial criticism of the contact hypothesis, at the same time that it is a confirmation.

chart

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