The populations of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand every have giant spiritual majorities, with at the very least seven-in-ten adults being Buddhist or Muslim. In a few of these international locations, there have been vital tensions with minority spiritual teams in latest years.
But a 2022 Pew Analysis Middle survey finds that, on steadiness, adults in these 5 South and Southeast Asian international locations are usually supportive of spiritual variety. These findings are just like these in Singapore, a rustic that lacks a spiritual majority. This evaluation explores spiritual tolerance and views of minority teams in these six international locations.
This evaluation is drawn from the Pew Analysis Middle report “Buddhism, Islam and Spiritual Pluralism in South and Southeast Asia.” For that report, we surveyed 13,122 adults throughout six international locations in South and Southeast Asia utilizing nationally consultant strategies.
The survey included three international locations wherein Buddhists make up a majority of the inhabitants (Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Thailand); two international locations with Muslim majorities (Malaysia and Indonesia); and one nation that’s religiously numerous, with no single group forming a majority (Singapore).
Interviews have been carried out face-to-face in Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand. They have been carried out on cell phones in Malaysia and Singapore. Native interviewers administered the survey in eight languages from June to September 2022.
Respondents have been chosen utilizing a probability-based pattern design. In Thailand, this included extra interviews within the nation’s Southern area, which has bigger shares who’re Muslim. Knowledge was weighted to account for various possibilities of choice amongst respondents and to align with demographic benchmarks for every nation’s grownup inhabitants.
Perceived impacts of spiritual variety
In Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Indonesia, at the very least half of adults say that having folks of many alternative religions, ethnic teams and cultures makes their nation a greater place to stay.
In the meantime, majorities in Cambodia and Thailand state that variety doesn’t make a lot distinction both means.
Checked out extra broadly, practically all respondents within the six international locations say variety has both a optimistic or a impartial impression on their nation. For instance, 62% of Sri Lankan adults say variety makes their nation a greater place to stay, whereas 27% say it doesn’t make a distinction.
And in religiously numerous Singapore, the place no group constitutes a majority, 56% of respondents say variety makes their nation higher, 37% say it makes no distinction and solely 4% say variety worsens their nation.
Compatibility of different religions with nationwide tradition and values
The survey requested respondents whether or not the key religions in South and Southeast Asia – Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism – are suitable with their nation’s lifestyle. (The query targeted on attitudes towards minority religions, so respondents weren’t requested about their nation’s traditionally predominant faith.)
Singapore is probably the most accepting of assorted religions. About eight-in-ten Singaporeans (82%) say that Islam, Christianity and Hinduism are additionally suitable with their nationwide tradition.
And in a number of different international locations, round half of respondents say that each one three of the key religions requested about are suitable with their nationwide tradition. For instance:
- In Buddhist-majority Thailand, 52% of adults say that Islam, Christianity and Hinduism are all suitable with Thai tradition and values.
- In Muslim-majority Indonesia, 53% of respondents say the identical about Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.
In distinction, Buddhist-majority Cambodia stands out as a result of 43% of Cambodians don’t say that any of the opposite three religions (Islam, Christianity or Hinduism) are suitable with Cambodian tradition and values.
One other strategy to perceive folks’s spiritual tolerance is by asking whether or not they could be prepared to stay subsequent door to members of different religions. Throughout the six international locations, majorities of all main spiritual teams say they’d be prepared to have neighbors from different religions. Adults ages 18 to 34 are notably open to this.
Adoption of spiritual practices from different faiths
Many individuals in South and Southeast Asia apply faith in a pluralistic means. Throughout the area, substantial shares of adults pray or supply respect to deities or spiritual figures generally related to one other religion.
For instance, 1 / 4 of Singaporean Buddhists say they pray or supply their respects to Jesus Christ, whereas over a 3rd of Malaysian Christians say they achieve this to Allah.
Typically, Hindus are the most certainly to wish or supply respects to deities not historically related to their faith, whereas Muslims are the least possible.
Minority spiritual teams seen as much less of a risk than extremists
Although Muslims and Buddhists are the bulk spiritual teams throughout South and Southeast Asia, most of them usually don’t see rising populations of different spiritual teams of their international locations as threats to their faith. Amongst Thai Buddhists, as an illustration, solely 1 / 4 really feel threatened by the expansion of Christians and a 3rd by the expansion of Muslims.
(These questions have been designed to gauge demographic anxieties, no matter whether or not these minority populations are literally rising inside the international locations surveyed.)
Nonetheless, in just a few international locations, a considerable variety of Buddhists and Muslims do see development of different religions as a possible risk. Round half of Muslims in Malaysia say rising numbers of Christians (52%) and Buddhists (49%) are threats. And 68% of Buddhists in Sri Lanka say the rising variety of Muslims is a risk.
Throughout the area, most Muslims and Buddhists usually tend to see extremists from their very own religion as a risk than development in different religions. As an illustration, 54% of Singapore’s Muslims say Muslim extremists are a risk, however far fewer say the rising variety of Christians or Buddhists is a risk (20% every).