EU study on Islam: Alienation, not religion makes youths violent

Vienna, Austria - Young Muslims in the European Union are not more violent than the majority, according to a report on the findings of a study released Wednesday, which found that discrimination rather than religion fosters violence.

To compare attitudes between Muslim and non-Muslim youths, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) polled a total of 3,000 children in Britain, France and Spain, countries that have experienced terrorist attacks or youth riots in recent years.

Those who are poorer, discriminated against, or are victims of violence were more likely to become violent themselves, regardless of their religious beliefs, the study found.

"However, Muslim youth in our survey reported having experienced more discrimination and social marginalisation than non-Muslim youth," said Morten Kjaerum, the director of the Vienna-based FRA.

In Spain and France, Muslims between the ages of 12 and 18 were much more likely to be treated unfairly because of their culture or religion than the majority. In Britain, religion made almost no difference.

The Muslims youths among those polled were also considerably poorer than their peers.

"In order to tackle some of the root causes of violence, it is important to ensure that children are not exposed themselves to violence and discrimination," Kjaerum said in a statement.

One in five respondents said hurting those who insulted their religion. Although Muslims were more likely to think this way, there was no indication that this translates into actual violence, according to the study.