White evangelicals are also the least likely Americans to know a Muslim.
..survey after survey indicates that white evangelicals are the least excited about their new neighbors. They show the highest levels of support for restrictions on Muslim immigration and the most skepticism toward Muslim Americans.
Much of the fear among evangelicals “is because people do not know Muslims,” said Michael Urton, associate director of the COMMA Network (Coalition of Ministries to Muslims in North America).
According to a PRRI poll conducted last year, 74 percent of white evangelicals, 66 percent of white mainline Protestants, and 63 percent of white Catholics said they saw Islamic and American values in conflict.
Though Muslim Americans are growing in number and prominence, a majority of white evangelicals do not know a single one. In a Pew survey released this year, just over a third (35%) say they have a personal connection to a Muslim.
In a LifeWay survey, slightly more than half of evangelical pastors saw ISIS as a true indication of what Islamic society looks like.
Warren Larson, former director of the Zwemer Center for Muslim Studies, called such beliefs “very damaging for ministry and mission among Muslims.” After 9/11, “quite a few evangelical books came out warning Christians to steer clear of Islam. Fear of Muslims grew substantially,” he said. “I felt such Christian writings often lacked solid research and were deficient in helping fellow believers reach out to Muslims with love and understanding.”
According to the Arab Barometer Survey, a majority of Muslims across 10 countries said they’d be comfortable with neighbors of a different religion and supported their right to practice their faith. In Iraq—where Christians have been expelled by ISIS—82 percent of Muslims were comfortable with non-Muslim neighbors.
“While knowledge about Christianity is low, tolerance of non-Muslims is high across the Arab world,” said Michael Hoffman, of Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project.
“Would a Muslim feel the American church is a safe place for them? The answer probably is they would not,” Cashin said. [Christianity Today]