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Western Anti‐Muslim Prejudice: Value Conflict or Discrimination of Persons Too?

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Do Western anti‐Muslim attitudes reflect Islamophobia as a general, ethnoreligious prejudice that does not distinguish between persons and ideas, values, or behavior, or are they limited to issues perceived to be in conflict with Western liberal values? In two experiments, we measured discrimination as decreased willingness to help a Muslim versus non‐Muslim to undertake an action that was either neutral or possibly in conflict with Western liberal values. As opposed to general discrimination, the participants displayed conditional, anti‐Muslim discrimination: The two targets were treated equally when the cause was neutral, but there was less willingness to help the Muslim when the cause was conflicting (protesting against the headscarf ban and against gay rights). However, participants did demonstrate subtle discrimination by showing less willingness to help the protesting Muslim compared to the protesting non‐Muslim target. Individual differences moderated these effects with multiculturalism predicting conditional outgroup prosociality, ethnocentrism predicting global outgroup discrimination, and proatheism attitudes predicting both conditional outgroup prosociality and unprejudiced rejection of value‐conflicting behavior.
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Keywords: Islamophobia; anti‐Muslim prejudice; discrimination; prosociality; value conflict

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

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