The West and the Religious 'Other': Connecting with Muslims

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Joel Bigley
Marc Weniger
Kent Rhodes

Abstract

Religion and politics have clashed for centuries. Current global political realities have heightened debate about immigration in many Western countries. While much of the debate is needed and welcomed, it has also opened dialogue about perceptions of the religious “other†in general, and toward followers of Islam in particular. In the interest of global peace on one hand and living as friends and neighbors on the other, this paper attempts to inform a global view of the differences and similarities, both real and perceived, of Christians and Muslims living in close proximity to each other in an increasingly connected world. Keeping this lens in mind, this article seeks to shed light on the paradoxes inherent in the debate about Islam and immigration and the potential cultural blind spots that may limit the goal of people of different religions and ideologies living in community and friendship with each other. Using World Value Survey data, this article compares the similarities and differences of cultural values between Muslim and Protestant religions compared to other global religions, and finds that the two religious cultures are not as different as it may seem in popular culture today.

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References

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