Everyone knows that Europe is Islamophobic, but for some reason it’s also Buddihiphilic*. Maybe the French actually judge religions based on their behavior. Or maybe, like everyone else, they’re irrationally afraid of being murdered by Muslim terrorists even though there is no reason for them to be because that never happens.
Almost three French people in four (73%) say that they have a negative image of Islam, while other religions enjoy the approval of a clear majority, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
Questioned by the agency Tilder and the Institut Montaigne, in the context of the program “Place aux idées” broadcast on Tuesday evening on LCP, 87% of French people have a positive image of Buddhism, 76% of Protestantism, 69% of Catholicism, 64% of Judaism, but only 26% of Islam, 1% not expressing an opinion.
More French people have a positive view of Buddhism than they do of their own religion. Which shoots down the whole “French people only have a negative image of Islam because they’re xenophobic bigots who are afraid of anyone different than them” theory.
Clearly that is not the case.
Nor is this a case of the French being more positive about Buddhism because it’s a foreign religion that does not exist in France. Surveys suggest that 1 percent of France may be Buddhist. That is significantly less than the number of Muslims, but it’s not insignificant.
The simplistic narrative of Islamist apologists is that Europeans or Americans have issues with Islam because it’s foreign. This relies on the old lefty polar division between nativism and tolerance. Either you like foreigners or you hate them. Either you are open to new things or you’re a reactionary bigot. And any criticism of Islam is filed into the latter category.
But the survey suggests that the French don’t have an instinctive dislike of other religions. They have issues with Islam for reasons that are rather obvious to anyone paying attention to Muslim violence and hate.
If concern about Islam is just a reactionary instinct to anything foreign, Buddhism would rank as poorly as Islam. At least it would rank more poorly than Christianity or Judaism. But the French, to everyone’s surprise, are tolerant. They just don’t like being colonized, robbed, raped and murdered in the name of a creed that says that they are subhuman because they don’t believe in a 7th century prophet’s claim to divine sanctions for his rape and murder spree.
And that makes you wonder, who are the real bigots?
* (As opposed to Buddiphiles, who are fans of Buddy Holly. Though the French also have a more positive image of Buddy Holly than they do of Islam)