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Gallup poll: Religion, intolerance related

April 7, 2009 at 11:23 PM

PRINCETON, N.J., April 7 (UPI) -- A series of Gallup polls reveals people in countries with a higher percentage of religious people are more likely to say tolerance for minorities is low.

The Gallup Organization conducted polls in 139 countries between 2006 and 2008.

Those countries were divided into five groups based on the percentage of those surveyed who said religion is important in their daily lives.

The polls found that religion is less likely to be important to residents of rich countries, who are also more likely to be tolerant. But Gallup said the greater intolerance reported in religious countries cannot be explained just by differences in income.

Gallup analysts also said there are large differences among the world's religions. Hindus are the least likely to perceive their countries as bad places for members of ethnic or religious minorities, while Jews are the most likely.

Christians also appear to be generally tolerant of minorities, while Muslims, Buddhists and Jews are not. Both Muslims and Jews in Israel appear far less tolerant than co-religionists living elsewhere.

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