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Age, ethnicity examined in survey on U.S. Catholics' views of Muslims


A boy attends afternoon prayer in 2016 at a mosque in Sterling, Va. A new update to a 2016 study on Catholic perceptions of Islam shows, like the initial survey, that three in 10 Catholics admit to having unfavorable views about Muslims. (CNS photo/Carlos Barria, Reuters)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A new update to a 2016 study on Catholic perceptions of Islam finds little difference in answers from a variety of age groups and ethnicities.

The initial survey, "Danger and Dialogue: American Catholic Opinion and Portrayals of Islam," was conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University for the university's Bridge Initiative, which studies Islamophobia. The study, released last September, revealed that Catholics often have negative or limited views about Islam.

According to the data, three in 10 Catholics admit to having unfavorable views about Muslims, Catholics are less likely than the Americans in the general public to know a Muslim personally, and nearly 50 percent of Catholics can't name any similarities between Catholicism and Islam.

When CARA broke down the numbers to reveal the age and ethnicity of respondents, which were released April 3, the usual differences were missing.

"Usually when CARA looks at Catholic data, there are huge differences by age, ethnicity," said Mark Gray, senior research associate at CARA. "We don't see the same differences in this survey that we'd expect. This shows that the attitudes/beliefs are generally widespread across the population."

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