Seminars & Events

9 April 2018
15:15 - 17:00
Sjoerd Groenman Gebouw C020

Seminar: Vassilis Saroglou – Islamophobia: Common prejudice or value defense?


Prejudice and discrimination may result from various reasons, among which symbolic threat is often present in subtle prejudice, in particular in terms of perceived value conflict between two groups. Anti-Muslim sentiments and behavior in the West are often justified by perceived incompatibility between Western/Christian/laicity’s values and non-Western/Muslim/pre-secular values. The former values are typically perceived to include individual autonomy, gender equality, universalism, care/compassion, and rationality. May thus Western anti-Muslim attitudes and behavior be explained as resulting from the need to defend the above values? I will present three sets of studies, carried out in our laboratory, aiming to address this question. These will include (a) cross-sectional data on Westerners’ attitudes toward the Islamic veil, (b) experimental evidence on Westerners’ capacity to distinguish between hating the “sin” (antiliberal causes) and loving the “sinner” (Muslims as persons), and (c) multi-country cross-sectional evidence on nonbelievers’ and Christians’ attitudes toward Muslims compared to other religious, ethnic, and moral outgroups, and on the role of relevant explanatory individual differences.


Vassilis Saroglou, Professor at the University of Louvain, Dept. of Psychology, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium