Queensland: Religion, the Media and the (Un)making of Prejudice towards Muslims

The Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue at Griffith University invites you to a Public Lecture by Professor John Shaver on Religion, the Media and the (Un)making of Prejudice towards Muslims on 29th of August 2018.


In most Western and historically Christian nations, social relations between majority populations and minority Muslim communities have been, and continue to be, strained. Even in New Zealand – one of the most socially progressive and tolerant societies – there have recently been several publicized instances of the maltreatment of Muslim communities.

It has often been theorized that inter-religious tensions fuel Muslim prejudice; however, there are good reasons to suspect that inter-religious prejudice and acceptance are environmentally contingent. Specifically, we predicted that due to the unique religious ecology of New Zealand, religious identification would be associated with a reduction in prejudice towards Muslims. We used data drawn from a large national sample of non-Muslim New Zealanders (N=13,974) to test these alternative hypotheses regarding the relationship between religion and prejudice. In support of our model, analyses revealed that religious New Zealanders report significantly less anger and more warmth towards Muslims than their secular counterparts.

Further analyses point to several drivers of Muslim prejudice, most notably frequency of exposure to the media. Importantly, media effects do not extend to other social groups and are observed regardless of political conservatism, suggesting that the media are partially responsible for the social problems experienced by New Zealand’s Muslim communities. I conclude with a discussion of the practical implications of these studies and forecasts for the future.

John Shaver is Lecturer in Religion at the University of Otago. John’s work is concerned with understanding how social and environmental factors influence the complex relationships between religion, cooperation and conflict. He as conducted research in the Czech Republic, Fiji, Mauritius, New Zealand and the United States, and his work has appeared in anthropology, biology, neuroscience, psychology and general science journals. John is Secretary General of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion, Vice President of the New Zealand Association for the Study of Religions, and he sits on the advisory board for the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study.

Event Details

Program: Professor John Shaver on Religion, the Media and the (Un)making of Prejudice towards Muslims
Date: 29th August, 2018
Time: 10:30AM
Location: Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue, Nathan Campus, Griffith University
Address: 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, 4111
Cost: Free
Catering: Morning Tea provided
RSVP: to icd@griffith.edu.au.
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