Finns’ negative views on Islam due to ‘harsh and negative picture’ presented by media

Finns hold largely negative views on Islam, according to a study on attitudes to various religions. Based on their survey responses, Finns were best disposed towards Christianity, had mostly positive impressions of Buddhism and Hinduism, and felt most critical towards Islam.

Only six percent of the survey respondents thought of Islam in positive terms, with the vast majority clearly holding negative impressions – which, says researcher Kimmo Ketola from the Church Research Institute, is mostly down to the media. “There are very few Muslim immigrants in Finland compared to many other European countries. The media can convey an exceedingly harsh and negative picture of Islam,” Ketola says.

The researcher notes that Finns’ feelings about foreign religions have changed for the better over the past couple of decades, but attitudes towards Islam have hardened in the 2000s. However, Ketola says, prejudice is not so all-encompassing.

YLE, 24 August 2011