Attitudes toward Muslim Immigrants

Published 2011. Contact: Colleen Ward


The survey research is based on a random sample of respondents from the New Zealand Electoral Rolls. Three hundred and two adults returned completed surveys about attitudes toward immigrants in general, and attitudes toward Muslim immigrants specifically.


Key findings include:

  • Settlers from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Korea, Philippines, India, China, South Africa, Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji are viewed more positively than those from predominantly Muslim countries (Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Somalia)
  • There is a moderate to moderately high level of perceived threat in relation to Muslim immigrants.
    • 51% agree that Muslims have customs that are not acceptable in New Zealand.
    • 44% agree that Muslim immigrants increase the risk of terrorism.
    • 44% agree that Muslim values are not compatible with New Zealand values.
  • Nevertheless,
    • 33% agree that Muslims have made an important contribution to New Zealand, and
    • 53% agree that here should be prayer rooms for Muslims at universities and workplaces.
  • More positive attitudes toward Muslims are associated with greater contact with Muslim people, lowered perceived threat, a stronger multicultural ideology, and liberal religious attitudes.