Most Pinoys Have Favorable Opinion of Islam - SWS

Manila, Philippines - Over 60 percent of Filipinos have a favorable opinion of Islam, believe Islam respects the beliefs of non-Muslims, and agree it is a peaceful religion, according to an opinion poll.

The Sept. 24-Oct. 2 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey also found that nearly half (47 percent) of Filipinos consider Muslims as trustworthy as non-Muslim Filipinos.

Muslims throughout the world are observing the three-day celebration called Eid’l Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting.

The survey found that the majority of Filipinos’ view of Islam remained favorable over the past year, slightly climbing to 66 percent from 63 percent in August last year.

The favorable view prevails in Mindanao (81 percent), in Metro Manila (69 percent) and in the rest of Luzon (70 percent). Half of the Visayas (52 percent), however, have an unfavorable opinion.

Filipinos from all socio-economic classes also have a favorable view of Muslims: 67 percent in class D, 65 percent in class ABC, and 63 percent in class E.

Two-thirds of Filipinos (68 percent) say Islam respects beliefs of non-Muslims despite the hostility Islamic extremists have towards non-Muslims. This year’s figure is unchanged from 66 percent in August 2005.

The SWS poll found that four out of five (80 percent) in Mindanao, 69 percent in Metro Manila, 70 percent in the rest of Luzon and 49 percent in the Visayas share this opinion.

This is also the prevailing view among most Filipinos in all socio-economic classes — 70 percent in class D and 64 percent in classes ABC and E.

A majority (66 percent) see Islam as a religion of peace and not of violence, similar to 67 percent recorded in August last year.

Islam is viewed as a peaceful religion by 65 percent in Metro Manila, 66 percent in the balance of Luzon, 55 percent in the Visayas and 77 percent in Mindanao.

A majority of Filipinos across socio-economic classes think likewise: 70 percent in class E, 65 percent in class D, and 62 percent in class ABC.

Filipinos’ view of Muslims being trustworthy has remained unchanged. More Filipinos agree (47 percent) than disagree (28 percent) that Muslims are as trustworthy as other Filipinos, similar to the August 2005 findings where 44 percent agreed and 26 percent disagreed.

The SWS found familiarity with Islam generates more favorable opinions of Muslims and their faith.

"Filipinos with extensive or partial but sufficient knowledge about Islam express more favorable opinion of the Muslim faith than those with little or no knowledge at all," the research firm said in a statement.

Seventy-nine percent of Filipinos have little or no knowledge of Islam’s teachings, according to the survey.

About four in five Filipinos are unfamiliar with the teachings and beliefs of Islam, having either little (37 percent) or no knowledge (42 percent) about it.

Two out of five (40 percent) in Mindanao have either extensive or partial but sufficient knowledge of Islam teachings. Knowledge of the teachings of Islam remains low in Metro Manila (18 percent), the rest of Luzon (15 percent), and in the Visayas (13 percent).

One out of five Filipinos across all socio-economic classes says he or she has either extensive or partial but sufficient knowledge of Islam teachings.

Eighty-two percent of those knowledgeable of Islam have a generally favorable opinion about it, 80 percent think it respects non-Muslim beliefs, and 76 percent believe it is a peaceful religion.

The SWS poll interviewed 1,200 Filipinos nationwide. It has an error margin of three percent.