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Έρευνα για τη δημιουργία στέγης συνταξιούχων δημοσίων υπαλλήλων Survey Research on the “ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS OF GREEKCYPRIOTS TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT.

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Presentation on theme: "Έρευνα για τη δημιουργία στέγης συνταξιούχων δημοσίων υπαλλήλων Survey Research on the “ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS OF GREEKCYPRIOTS TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Έρευνα για τη δημιουργία στέγης συνταξιούχων δημοσίων υπαλλήλων Survey Research on the “ATTITUDES AND BELIEFS OF GREEKCYPRIOTS TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH DIFFERENT RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS AND AFFILIATIONS WHO LIVE IN CYPRUS” June 2007 Cyprus Anti – discrimination Body Equality Authority

2 2 "This survey is supported by the European Community Action Programme to combat discrimination ( ). This programme was established to support the effective implementation of new EU anti-discrimination legislation. The six-year Programme targets all stakeholders who can help shape the development of appropriate and effective anti- discrimination legislation and policies, across the EU-25, EFTA and EU candidate countries. The Action Programme has three main objectives. These are:  To improve the understanding of issues related to discrimination  To develop the capacity to tackle discrimination effectively  To promote the values underlying the fight against discrimination For more information see: The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of the European Commission Directorate-General Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on its behalf is responsible for the use which might be made of the information in this publication."

3 3 Commissioned by: Ombudsman Office, Cyprus Subject: “Attitudes and beliefs of Greek Cypriots towards people with different religious convictions and affiliations who live in Cyprus” Execution: Research Center, Cyprus College Method:Random stratified sampling Data collection: Personal household interviews Population: All Cypriots living in Cyprus (urban and rural areas) aged 18 years old and above Number of successful visits: 735 Refusals: 85 (11,5%) Sample size:655 Field work period: 14 – 31 May Sampling error: 3.8 % Research Identity

4 4 SEX Male -> 49% Female -> 51% AGE > 14% > 41% > 25% 60+ -> 20% EDUCATION Up to primary school -> 21% Secondary education -> 50% College/ University -> 28% OCCUPATION Α-Β -> 13% C1 ->24% C2 -> 26% D-E -> 14% Unemployed/ college student -> 5% Retired / Housewife -> 18 % DISTRICT Nicosia -> 39% Limassol -> 29% Larnaca -> 17% Famagusta -> 5% Paphos -> 9% AREA Urban -> 69% Rural -> 31% MARITAL STATUS Single -> 22% Live with someone -> 3% Married -> 65% Divorced -> 5% Widowed -> 4% Do you have children? Yes -> 70% No -> 30% Sample Structure Sample structure shows the representative subgroups percentages of the population as regards the sex, education, age, occupation district and area.

5 5 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Based on its mandate as the Authority responsible for combating Discrimination, the Ombudsman Office commissioned the Research Center of Cyprus College to carry out a national quantitative research, regarding the perceptions of Greek Cypriot citizens towards people with different religious convictions. Fieldwork took place between the 14th until 31st of May 2007 with a sample of 650 individuals, aged 18 years old and above. The main findings of the research are concisely presented below. Friendships with individuals of different religion Almost two out of three Greek Cypriots, did not or do not have close friendships with individuals of other religions. The question is whether this is a conscious choice or it just did not happen to find themselves in an environment with individuals from other religions. More familiarized with individuals from other religions are the graduates of tertiary education, obviously because of acquaintances they made with people of different religions during the duration of their studies. Also the residents of Paphos district are more familiar with individuals from other religions probably because in this province the rates of immigration are higher compared to other regions. Extent of discrimination in Cyprus With regard to the prevalence of discrimination against individuals with different religious convictions in Cyprus, the opinions of citizens rather avoid extreme answers. Those who consider that such discrimination is either very widespread or very rare constitute a minority. Almost half of the citizens consider the existence of religious discrimination as “somewhat widespread". From the above one could conclude that discrimination exists in Cyprus but it is not very widespread. Comparison with Europe Despite the fact that the perceptions of Cypriots in various questions appear to be at least equally tolerant, if not more tolerant as in other European countries, a slight majority of respondents believe that Europe is more tolerant than Cyprus in matters of discrimination based on religious convictions and affiliations.

6 6 Change in the attitude towards individuals of different religion Regarding the way in which the attitudes of Cypriots have changed over time towards individuals from different religions, the majority of the citizens (64%) believe that their attitude has not changed. Those however who say that they accept people from other religions now more than before, are numerically higher than those saying that they now accept these people less than before (28% than 8%). More receptive attitudes are reported by people maintaining friendships with individuals from other religions, probably because they have direct experience from the coexistence with individuals from other religions. Does Cyprus need more individuals of different religions? Three out of four citizens declare that Cyprus does not need more individuals from different religious convictions and affiliations. This opinion is even more intense among individuals with lower education. These in general are older people that practice manual work. There is a possibility that this question has been mistaken as a proposal to increase immigration to Cyprus and therefore answers express mainly an opposition towards increased immigration. Are efforts sufficient against religious discrimination? On the issue of whether efforts to combat religious discrimination in Cyprus are sufficient, Greek Cypriot citizens are split between the impression that these efforts are adequate and the impression that less is done than necessary. Very few citizens consider that these efforts are excessive. Among those who want to see more done for fighting discriminations, individuals with college or university education are over represented as well as those which work in high professional positions.

7 7 SUBJECTS OF RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATIONS AT WORK Different religion: Advantage or disadvantage? Almost half of citizens believe that if someone does not belong to the Orthodox Church this constitutes a disadvantage when competing in the labor market, while four out of ten citizens don’t appreciate so. Remarkably in the districts of Limassol, Larnaca, free Famagusta and Paphos the majority of citizens believe that there is no work disadvantage for individuals of other religions. This is probably because the presence of individuals with different religious convictions is higher in the coastal cities. Knowledge of laws against religious discrimination The majority of the citizens do not know that laws exist in Cyprus prohibiting discrimination when hiring new employees on the basis of someone’s religious beliefs. Ignorance on this is strong even among citizens belonging to the higher socio- economic category (which includes most employers). Only 41% of them are aware of the existence of these laws. It should be commented also that among the age group of years old, only 12% know the existence of such laws. Therefore there is room for information activities regarding this subject. Application of positive discrimination An interesting finding of the research is the fact that a considerable percentage of Cypriots (40%) support the application of positive discrimination favoring individuals from other religions or dogmas in the labour sector, that is to say employers to be obliged by law to employ a minimum number of people from different religions. The rate of agreement with the application of positive discrimination among young people of years of age reached 47%, despite the fact that the application of such law might influence them negatively in their hiring possibilities. It is also noted that among the individuals with higher education the rate of agreement is also high (45%).

8 8 SOCIAL ATTITUDES ON RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION Marriage with people from other religions and doctrines The majority of Cypriots declare that they wouldn’t marry a Muslim and also that they would be annoyed if their child were to marry a person from another religion. More specifically, 86% state that they wouldn’t marry a Muslim, while the percentage of those who would be annoyed if their child were to marry a person from another religion amounts to 61%. The percentage of those who wouldn’t marry a Catholic amounts to 47%. More "open minded" in the idea of marriage with people from different religious doctrines (that is to say in the particular question, Catholics) appear to be men, the youngest individuals and the graduates of higher education. It is pointed out also that based on further analysis of answers in the questionnaire, more religious individuals and regular church attendees are more likely to disagree with marriages with people from other religions and people from different religious doctrines. Finally, individuals that had or have close friendships with individuals from other religions appear to be more exceptive of the idea of marriage with individuals from other religions. Questions about freedom of religion The opinions of the majority of Cypriots in answering certain questions on issues of freedom of religion are rather negative. 68% of Cypriots disagree with the abolishment of obligatory praying and church attendance in the school and in the army. Also 51% disagree with the abolishment of reporting religious affiliation on public sector job applications. In addition 50% disagree with the idea of more neutral religious courses at school. Regarding the minority of individuals who agree with the above statements, they are mainly individuals of younger age, with higher education who describe themselves to be rather irreligious and infrequently or never go to church. Through the analysis of findings, it becomes obvious that individuals who are more religious tend to adopt a negative stand towards the issues raised above. Religion and happiness Approximately, half of Greek Cypriots believe that people cannot be really happy if they do not believe in some religion. This conviction is particularly intense among the oldest individuals and generally among individuals who are particularly religious. On the contrary, the majority of young people do not adopt this belief. An additional interesting finding is that the majority of Greek Cypriots consider the Christian Orthodox religion as superior to all other religions. This is also true even for individuals that had or have close friendships with people from other religions. That is to say, religious syncretism does not find support in Cypriot society.

9 9 Perceptions about Muslims A perception which is advanced occasionally in Western mass media, i.e. that Muslim religion leads by its nature to extreme behavior is shared in Cyprus by almost all subgroups of the population. Even the individuals with university or college education largely adopt this conviction. Only those who state that they are irreligious oppose to such a belief. In addition, half of Cypriots agree with the opinion that Muslims are prompt to religious fanaticism and thus they should be prevented from climbing employment hierarchies. In this question, again only the individuals who state that they are irreligious disagree with the above. Finally the overwhelming majority of Cypriots, including also those that declare themselves as "very religious" intensely disagree with the opinion that a Muslim, even if he is to be a very good person will not inherit paradise. From the above we could conclude that negative attitudes towards Islam are due to the adoption of stereotypes that identify Muslim religion with extremism and violence, and not to religious fanaticism on behalf of the citizens. Other subjects Almost one in five Cypriots reacts negatively when exposed to jokes against other religions. Most of those who react towards such jokes are individuals who are very religious and older. Also, the majority of Cypriots are against discriminations based on religion in matters of housing, as, for example, renting a house..

10 10 COEXISTENCE WITH INDIVIDUALS OF DIFFERENT RELIGION The mass majority of Cypriots claim that they feel comfortable in the presence of different religions both at work and also in their personal dealings. This finding applies to all different groups of the sample including those who characterize themselves very religious and also those who attend church on a regular basis. In addition most Cypriots say that they wouldn’t be annoyed by the presence of religious symbols of a different religion in an office of a colleague. This is currently controversial issue in several European countries, in Cyprus however it is a non issue. Coexistence with Muslims Most Cypriots say that they wouldn’t have a problem having a Muslim as a colleague or as a neighbor. They wouldn’t mind also if their doctor were Muslim. Also the majority of respondents say that they wouldn’t have a problem if their child had Muslim friend. Though a strong minority say that they would have a problem in such a case. There are two situations mentioned in the questionnaire in which the majority of respondents say that they would have a problem, one in the case in which their child teacher were Muslim and the other in the case their child carer were Muslim. The last two answers indicate a fear that their child might be influenced or proselytized. Also the majority of Cypriots say that they would mind if a Muslim temple were to be erected in their neighborhood.

11 11 Coexistence with Jehovahs Witnesses In terms of coexistence with Jehovahs Witnesses, more or less the same attitudes are expressed as those that were reported concerning coexistence with Muslims. Indeed the fear of proselytizing by a teacher or a childcarer or even friends is reported even stronger. On the other hand most Cypriots claim that they wouldn’t have a problem having a Jehovah Witness as a neighbor or a colleague. Coexistence with Catholics No prevalent fears or problems are reported in terms of coexistence with Catholics in all the situations described in the questionnaire. There is however a minority of Greek Orthodox Cypriots (around one to five) who say that they would have a problem if a Catholic Church were to operate in their neighborhood and if their child’s teacher were a Catholic. It should be noted though that most people who belong to this minority are people who do not profess strong faith. Feelings towards people from different religions In terms of the feelings towards people from different religions, as it is expected these are very positive towards Orthodox Christians. Positive feelings are also reported for Catholics and Protestants, where as for Buddhists and self declared atheists average feelings tend to be neutral (in the middle of a positive – negative scale). In such a scale, average reported feelings for Muslims and Jehovahs Witnesses tend to lie between “neither positive nor negative feelings” and “rather negative feelings”. It should be noted that overall those who regard themselves as very religious and attend church on a regular basis, do not express different feelings towards people from other religions and dogmas when compared with the reported feelings of the rest of the citizens. In other words no religious intolerance is reported in these issues.

12 12 CHARTS

13 13 PART A Do you have or did you have in the past, friends who are different from you, more specifically people from different religion?

14 14 Could you please tell me whether the phenomenon of discrimination on the basis of religion is very widespread, fairly widespread, fairly rare or very rare in Cyprus?

15 15 Would you say that in Cyprus we need more people with different religious beliefs (except Christian Orthodox) in the society we live in ?

16 16 In general how do you evaluate the efforts that are made to fight religious discrimination in Cyprus?

17 17 Would you say that the fact of someone belonging to other religion than the majority of Cypriots (Christian Orthodox) tends to be an advantage, a disadvantage, or neither in the Cypriot society at the current time?

18 18 Lets suppose that an organization has to choose between two candidates for work (employment) who have equivalent qualifications and diplomas. If one of the two has different religious beliefs, meaning that he or she is not a Christian Orthodox, do you believe that this person might be in a disadvantaged position? Yes or not ?

19 19 Are you in favor or oppose, for the employers to be obliged by the law to employee a minimum number of people from a different religion (except Christian Orthodox)

20 20 Are you aware whether in Cyprus there are laws prohibiting discrimination when hiring new employees on the basis of someone’s religious beliefs

21 21 Part B On the basis of what you know and believe please state the degree at which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

22 22 Mean Averages on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5= agree and 1= disagree

23 23 Please state the degree at which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

24 24 Mean Averages on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5= agree and 1= disagree

25 25 Please state the degree at which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

26 26 Mean Averages on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5= agree and 1= disagree

27 27 Please state the degree at which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

28 28 Mean Averages on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5= agree and 1= disagree

29 29 Please state the degree at which you agree or disagree with the following statements.

30 30 Mean Averages on a scale from 1 to 5, where 5= agree and 1= disagree

31 31 Please state how do you feel in the following situations:

32 32 Part C Do you believe that Cyprus compared to Europe is more, the same or less tolerant regarding discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs? Cyprus is....

33 33 Regarding people from other religious groups or beliefs than yours, to what extend would you have a problem to …

34 34 Regarding people from other religious groups or beliefs than yours, to what extend would you have a problem to …

35 35 Regarding people from other religious groups or beliefs than yours, to what extend would you have a problem to …

36 36 How do you feel towards people from the following religious groups?

37 37 How do you feel towards people from the following religious groups? (Mean averages 5= very positively and 1= very negatively)

38 38 How have your attitudes towards people from different religions changed during the last years?

39 39 Regardless of whether you belong to a specific religion, would you describe your self to be ……

40 40 How often do you go to church?

41 41 Does your family employee a foreign worker (e.g housekeeper), who is not Christian Orthodox?

42 42 QUESTIONNAIRE


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