07 May 2009

A study: Religion most important to Asians, Africans

The results of a Gallup poll....

LONDON (AFP) — Asians and Africans see religion as most important in their daily lives, with Europeans least of the view that faith matters, according to a study published Thursday.

The study also found that Muslims in key European states identify with their country of residence more than the general population, contrary to the widespread view that they are not loyal to their homeland.

Bangladesh is the country with the most people -- 99 percent -- agreeing that religion is part of their daily lives, followed by Pakistan, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Senegal within a few points.

Meanwhile, only 20 percent of people in Norway view religion as important, followed by France on 25 percent, Britain on 29 percent and the Netherlands on 33 percent, according to the study co-authored by pollsters Gallup.
"The percentage of residents who say religion is important in their lives is much higher in Canada (45 percent) and the United States (67 percent)... than it is in many European countries," said the study.

The study, by Gallup and the Coexist Foundation, notably highlighted findings suggesting that Muslims in Britain, France and Germany identify as much if not more with their countries as the general population.

In Britain, more than three quarters -- 77 percent -- of Muslims said they identified with the country, compared to only 50 percent of the general public.

In Germany, 40 percent of Muslims identified with the country against 32 percent of the wider public, while in France almost as many Muslims -- 52 percent -- as the general public -- 55 percent -- did so.

"This research shows that many of the assumptions about Muslims and integration are wide of the mark," said Dalia Mogahed, head of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

"European Muslims want to be part of the wider community and contribute even more to society," she added.

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