Accepting Muslim minority practices: A case of discriminatory or normative intolerance?

Sander Sleijpen, Maykel Verkuyten*, Levi Adelman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


West European societies have seen strong debates about the acceptance of Muslim minority practices. In the current research we sought to better understand intolerance by examining whether people use a double standard in which the same practices are tolerated of Christians but not of Muslims (discriminatory intolerance), or rather reject the practices independently of the religious minority group because these are considered to contradict society's normative ways of life (normative intolerance). The results of two survey-embedded experiments among native Dutch were most in agreement with an interpretation in terms of normative intolerance rather than discriminatory intolerance. This suggests that the rejection of Muslim practices has less to do with Muslims per se but rather with the perceived normative deviance of the practices, independently of the religious minority group. These findings broaden the research on anti-Muslim sentiments and thereby the debate on the place of Islam within Western liberal societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-418
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • discrimination
  • Muslims
  • norms
  • tolerance


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