Irish attitudes to Muslim immigrants

September 30, 2019

Economic and Social Review, Vol. 50, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 491-514

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This paper uses data from the 2014 Special Module of the European Social Survey on attitudes to immigration to investigate attitudes towards Muslim and White immigrants in Ireland. Drawing on theories of social identity, ethnic threat and social distance, the paper develops hypotheses about which factors influence attitudes to Muslim immigrants, and how and why they might differ from attitudes to White immigrants. Comparing these attitudes, we find evidence of an “ethnic hierarchy” in Ireland, with more positive attitudes to White than to Muslim immigrants. We also find that age and religious practice are associated with attitudes towards Muslim immigrants, but have only weak effects on attitudes towards White immigrants. The analysis reveals that an international terrorist attack had a negative effect on attitudes to Muslim immigrants but not on attitudes to White immigrants.