When muslims are perceived as a religious threat: Examining the connection between desecration, religious coping, and anti-muslim attitudes

Hisham Abu Raiya, Kenneth I. Pargament, Annette Mahoney, Kelly Trevino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined links between the appraisal that Muslims desecrate Christian values and teachings, religious coping methods, and anti-Muslim attitudes. Of the 192 Christian undergraduate participants, between 13.7% and 28% perceived Muslims as a threat to Christian values and teachings. After controlling for demographic and personological variables (e.g., church attendance, pluralism, Christian orthodoxy, authoritarianism, fundamentalism, particularism), higher levels of viewing Muslims as desecrators of Christianity were linked to higher anti-Muslim attitudes. In contrast, positive religious coping methods that emphasized expressions of Christian love and learning from Muslim spiritual models were associated with lower anti-Muslim attitudes. However, negative religious coping methods that emphasized that Muslims were being punished by God and demonic were also tied to greater anti-Muslim attitudes. Further, religious coping methods partially mediated the associations between desecration and anti-Muslim attitudes. Higher levels of authoritarianism, religious particularism, fundamentalism, and greater exposure to messages of desecration predicted perceptions of Muslims as desecrators of Christianity. The findings demonstrate the usefulness of Pargament's religious coping theory to understand prejudice, particularly how the perception that Muslims violate Christianity may often underlie anti-Muslim attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes

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