Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination

  • September 09, 2009

 When asked how much various religions resemble their own, the public cites Protestantism and Catholicism as the faiths most like theirs. Overall, more than four-in-ten non-Protestants in the survey (44%) say that the Protestant religion and their own faith are similar (including 12% saying they are very similar), slightly more than say Protestantism and their own faith are somewhat or very different (38%). Of non-Catholics, 43% see mostly similarities between Catholicism and their own faith, while roughly half (49%) see mostly differences. More than one-third of non-Jews say Judaism is somewhat or very similar to their own faith (35%), while 47% say it is somewhat or very different.

By comparison, the public is even more likely to see differences rather than similarities between their own religion and Mormonism, Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism. In fact, majorities say that each of these faiths is different from their own religion, with sizeable numbers saying that these religions are very different from their own (37% say this about Mormonism, 40% about Hinduism, 44% about Buddhism and 45% about Islam).

Protestants see Catholicism as the religion most like their own, followed by Judaism. Among Protestants in the survey, white evangelicals (49%) and white mainline Protestants (50%) are somewhat more likely than black Protestants (39%) to see their religion as similar to Catholicism. But all three groups have roughly the same impression of Judaism's similarity with their own faith (39% similar among white evangelicals, 34% among both white mainline Protestants and black Protestants). Fewer Protestants see Mormonism (22%), Islam (15%), Hinduism (9%) or Buddhism (7%) as similar to their own faith.

Read the full report Muslims Widely Seen As Facing Discrimination on the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life Web site.