Support for democracy and liberal sexual mores among Muslims in Western Europe

Viivi Eskelinen*, Maykel Verkuyten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is an on-going debate whether a ‘clash of civilizations’ exists between Islam and the West, in particular in relation to support for democracy and endorsement of liberal sexual mores. This study aims to explain Muslim minorities’ support for democracy and their attitude towards these mores by making a comparison with majority members and by considering the level of religiosity and sense of national belonging. Using data from four European countries (Belgium, Germany, U.K., Switzerland), we found that Muslims compared to majority members were less supportive of democracy and of liberal sexual mores. Furthermore, these differences could be explained by Muslims’ higher level of religiosity and weaker national belonging (for liberal sexual mores). These findings demonstrate that the so-called ‘clash’ is more prominent in the case of liberal sexual mores than democracy and that not only religiosity but also the development of a sense of national belonging is important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2346-2366
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2020


  • liberal sexual mores
  • Muslim immigrants
  • national identity
  • religiosity
  • support for democracy


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