Prejudice around religion, rather than on race or xenophobia, is the "final frontier" for diversity, where individuals are prepared to express negative attitudes, a new study in England and Wales has found.
"How We Get Along: The Diversity Study of England and Wales 2020," was published Nov. 16 by the UK-based Woolf Institute.
The institute says it combines teaching, scholarship, and outreach, focusing on Jews, Christians, and Muslims, to encourage tolerance and foster understanding between people of all beliefs.
"Attitudes between faith groups are more negative than between ethnic and national groups," the study found.
"The strongest negative attitudes towards marrying someone from another background are observed when we group the survey respondents by religion."
Attitudes between faith groups are more harmful than between ethnic and national groups, the study found.
And the most assertive negative attitudes towards marrying someone from another background are observed when we group the survey respondents by religion.
RELIGOUS PREJUDICE TRUMPS RACISM
"Religious prejudice, rather than racism or xenophobia, is the 'final frontier' for diversity, a place where individuals are willing to express negative attitudes," said the study.
About 75 percent of people in England and Wales are comfortable with a close relative marrying an Asian or Black person (70 percent and 74 percent).
At the same time, fewer than half (44 percent) are comfortable with the idea of a close relative marrying a Muslim.
"The word 'Muslim' appears to trigger more negative sentiment than the word 'Pakistani'" the report found.
The great majority of British Pakistani people are Muslim, so the researchers would expect feelings towards both groups to be broadly similar.
"However, feelings towards a close relative marrying a Muslim person appear to be more negative than those towards a Pakistani person," it said.
The survey sought to find out what people think of their neighbors.
It sought to find out what they think of others.
It looked at race, religion, and immigration, what divides people and
what brings them together.
It examined if they share the same experiences of the diverse everyday world around them.
"Or is diversity something other people do? These are some of the questions that motivated the Woolf Institute to produce How We Get Along: The Diversity Study of England and Wales 2020," the institute said.
It surveyed 11,701 people across England and Wales and asked questions concerning their attitudes towards ethnic, national, and religious diversity and their experiences,
The study is the largest known study of diversity undertaken in the United Kingdom said the institute.
It says that despite public concern and media narratives that the country is increasingly polarised, there is an emerging national consensus that diversity is good for Britain, but that the pace of change has been too fast for many.
The survey's findings suggest that 'prodiversity' and 'pro-immigration control' positions are neither contradictory nor irreconcilable.
"The existence of an emerging consensus on both diversity and change offers policymakers opportunities for coalitions and broader appeal. They should seek to build on this finding when considering issues such as equality and immigration," says the Woolf Institute.