Religious fundamentalism and attitudes toward immigrants and Syrian refugees.


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Currently, the number of displaced individuals worldwide is at a record high, and the humanitarian crisis in Syria is particularly dire (UNHCR, 2016b). Many immigrants are experiencing prejudice and a lack of compassion. Among Christians, religious fundamentalism (RF) may contribute to expressed negative sentiment about immigrants because it consists of both Christian beliefs and authoritarian aggression and submission. Two studies examined the relationship between RF and attitudes toward immigrants and refugees among American college students. Study 1 revealed that RF was positively associated with prejudice toward immigrants as measured by perceived realistic and symbolic immigrant threats. RF also positively predicted perceived symbolic threats after controlling for political affiliation, impression management, and social dominance orientation. Using an experimental design, Study 2 found that priming RFs with religious compassion in order to make their Christian beliefs salient did not influence prosocial attitudes toward Syrian refugees. These results demonstrate the complexity of the relationship between religiosity and prejudice toward immigrants and refugees, as well as the need for future research in this area.



Religious fundamentalism. Immigrants. Syrian refugees.