- Muslims are more religious through instruction

Muslims are more religious through instruction

A large minority of young western Europeans have no religious instruction. Many have no particular faith. A survey in France, Spain and Great Britain showed striking differences between domestic and immigrant Muslims.

What is even more significant than the results of the survey on Youth discrimination and readiness to violence which the media have pounced upon are the statements about their religiousness. In each of the three countries France, Spain and the UK, 400 Muslim and 600 non-Muslim youths between ages 12-18 were surveyed. The study by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights was presented in Vienna this week.
The interpretation of the results must take into account that the three coutnires deal with religion in very different ways. In addition, the largest Muslim groups do not come from the same countries. But the ensuing differences appear to be less significant than the polarisation between Muslims and the others. All in all, the indigenous youths seem to swim along in the secular western European mainstream in a way that a religious identity is neither promoted or created within the large minority .

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Youths in Burgundy.
If not in the family, where then?

The young people were asked about who had passed on religious tradition and who had taught religion to them. The Muslims stated in 67 to 81% of the cases that it was the family. Non-Muslims, i.e. 41% of the French, 32% of the Spanish and 20% of the Brits mentioned the family (in the UK, classes on religion are taught at school, just as in Spain). The influence of the imams is significantly greater in the UK, as Muslims (many Pakistanis) have numerous mosques near their living areas.
Amongst the British, three out of five Muslims go to the mosque at least once a week, not only for teaching, but also for leisure activities. The most crass difference emerged with the replies of non-Muslims to the statement that no-one ever taught them about religion: 36% in France, 26% in Spain and 19% in the UK. It was never more than 4% for the Muslims in all 3 countries. 

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The church is still present: Marriage in Seville.
No religious link

Ovr 40% of the non-Muslims in France stated that they had no religion. In Spain 30% felt they didn't belong to any traditional religion, in the UK it was over 50%! The youths who stated they do belong to a religion were asked how strong their faith was. The result is clear: Whereas 90% of the Muslims in France feel their faith is strong or quite strong, only 55% of the non-Muslims felt that way. In Spain, the figures are 80% and only 30%, with 85% and 55% in the UK.  
This shows that many youths in Spain have turned away from the previously dominant Catholic church since the government's forced secularization of public life as from the1980's. In the two other countries, which have been secularized for quite some time, it seems that around half of the indigenous youths feel that religion is a part of their life. Because there are few non-practicing Muslims, the authors of the survey divided the youths into three groups: Muslims, non-Muslim believers and non-believers. 

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In London's centre.
At home in culture(s)

Aside from the religion, the study's authors also looked at the culture to which the young people felt they belonged. The young people could name more than one cultures. In France, 77% said the French culture, 24% the Arabic, 22% European and 17% African. In Spain, it was 73% the Spanish and 30% the Moroccan culture. In the UK, 42% said Scottish,  35% British, 27% English and 23% Pakistani culture.

Alienation in the suburbs

Only one third of young French Muslims can identify themselves with the culture of the country, compared to half of them in Spain and two thirds in Great Britain. The figures are 50%, and twice 85% for the non-Muslims in those three countries. Briefly: France, the "Grand Nation" with its elitist cultural behavior, creates less identity than the two insular societies; the occasional unrest which flares up in the suburbs is evidence of this.


On the topic:
Comment: Ungläubige Eltern – haltlose Jugendliche

Die FRA-Studie über Diskriminierung, soziale Marginalisierung und Gewalt bei Jugendlichen

Info sheet German

Datum: 29.10.2010
Autor: Peter Schmid
Quelle: Livenet / FRA
Author: Henriette Ludwig

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