White evangelical Christians believe they are more discriminated against than Muslims, US poll finds

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
The findings represent a u-turn for the white evangelical protestant community, who have historically recognised Muslims face higher rates of discrimination: REUTERS/Neil Hall

A majority of white evangelical Christians believe they face more discrimination than Muslims in the US, a new poll has revealed.

The Public Religion Research Institute study found 57 per cent of white evangelical protestants believe Christians face “a lot of discrimination” in the US today, while just 44 per cent believe Muslims faced the same level.

The survey of 2,000 US adults found radically different views depending on religious orientation.

White evangelicals were the only group to believe Christians faced more discrimination. A majority (63 per cent) of white mainline protestants believed Muslims faced more discrimination and 77 per cent of those without a religious affiliation also agreed Muslims are discriminated against more than Christians.

The American average found 66 per cent of Americans believed Muslims face more discrimination than Christians.

The findings represent a U-turn for the white evangelical Christian community, who have historically recognised Muslims face higher rates of discrimination.

A 2013 PRRI survey found 59 per cent of white evangelicals said they think Muslims face a lot of discrimination.

It came after new research found the number of hate groups specifically targeting Muslims in the US has nearly tripled in the past year.

Researchers at The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) attributed the dramatic spike to Donald Trump's campaign, saying his success “energised” the radical right.

The number of anti-Muslim organisations known to be operating in the country rose from just 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016, according to the left-leaning non-profit's Annual Census of Hate Groups and Extremist Organisations.

The total number of hate groups in the United States also rose for a second year in a row, but less steeply – from 892 to 917.

The organisation reported “a rash of crimes targeting Muslims,” including an arson attack that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.

The latest FBI statistics show that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 per cent in 2015, the year in which Mr Trump launched his campaign.

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