THE SACRED TEXTS EXPERIMENT: IMAGES OF RELIGIOUS OTHERS AND THEIR ROLE IN FORMING ATTITUDES TOWARDS ACCEPTING MUSLIM REFUGEES IN POLAND
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Contemporary discourse on refugees arriving from the Middle East to Poland revolves around two poles of the problem: the postulate of empathy towards people threatened by war and a danger that these people can supposedly impose on Poland and other EU countries. The religious factor seems to play a significant role in this discourse. Refugees who come from predominantly Muslim countries form a group of special interest for media, politicians and public opinion. In this context, it is important to examine how Poles perceive Islam, and how this image may be associated with attitudes towards accepting refugees. The aim of the study was to analyse narratives about Islam and the religious Other, emerging from partially structured interviews (N=31). The questionnaire, containing citations from the Bible, the Quran and holy scripture of new religious movements (the Bhagavad- Gita) served as the trigger for interviews conducted after filling in the questionnaire. The respondents’ task in the questionnaire was to assign – based on their own knowledge of the subject –these quotes to one of the scriptures. Because of the small and non-representative research sample, the results obtained did not allow for generalizations. However, they provide an important indication (to be tested in future research) how the most frequent associations with Islam (aggression, violence, and the lack of respect for women’s rights) might translate into attitudes towards accepting Muslim refugees in Poland.
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