A new study from the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding explored the relationship between evangelical Christians and practicing Muslims, and the findings were somewhat troubling, if not exactly surprising. Relations between the two groups are tense and a bit suspicious, but the feelings seem more pronounced from the evangelical side of things.
According to the data, evangelicals aren’t very interested in interacting or learning more about Muslims. More than half of Muslims reported they interact with Christians and “believe that interaction has lead to better understanding between the groups,” but that number for Christians was only 22 percent. Evangelicals were also more likely to perceive differences between the two groups.
Both groups agree there is anti-Muslim sentiment within the evangelical Christian community, and both groups agree that Muslims are discriminated against for their faith. In fact, 62 percent of evangelicals claim their is anti-Muslim sentiment within their own communities. Related: When asked if Muslim holidays should be observed at a federal level, just like Christmas, 57 percent of Evangelicals said no.
The two groups differ in how they view geopolitical issues as well, most significantly current events related to immigration: 61 percent of evangelicals supported President Trump’s travel ban, while 70 percent of Muslims consider it a “Muslim ban.” When asked about the migrant caravan coming through Central America, 58 percent of evangelicals said they felt the caravan was a threat. Most Muslims did not agree.
FFEU President Rabbi Marc Schneier said in the study: “Evangelical Christian-Muslim relations is today’s largest interreligious challenge and the poll shows that there are causes for concern and elements of hope and optimism on both sides to narrow the divide between the two faith communities.”