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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 14:30 GMT
Bigotry study raises racism fears
Anti-racism poster
The study looked at discrimination in the city
Prejudice and crime against asylum seekers in Glasgow may be a bigger problem than sectarianism, according to a survey of attitudes in the city.

A significant number of those questioned said they had a problem with homosexuals, people of a different race or refugees becoming their neighbours.

However, only a small percentage expressed concern about Catholics or Protestants moving in next door.

While sectarianism is perceived as being endemic, there is less evidence to suggest that sectarian crime and discrimination is widespread

NFO Social Research report
The report commissioned by the city council said there was a "mismatch" between the perceptions of bigotry and the reality.

More than two thirds of the people questioned for the study thought that there was a problem with discrimination in the city, and almost as many thought sectarian violence was common.

But the research found that only 12% of those who took part in the study thought they were personally affected by sectarianism.

Less that one in 100 had been the victim of attacks based on their religion.

"There is a clear contrast between perceptions of prevalence and the level of reported experience of different forms of sectarian behaviour," said the report.

Prejudice

"While sectarianism is perceived as being endemic, there is less evidence to suggest that sectarian crime and discrimination is widespread."

The majority of the 1,000 people surveyed by NFO Social Research thought there was prejudice against Catholics and Protestants in Glasgow.

However, larger numbers believed that there was also prejudice against asylum seekers, blacks and Asians.

Anti-racism demonstration
Racist attitudes were identified in the study
The survey attempted to measure the prejudices of those questioned by asking whether they would be concerned if certain groups of people became their neighbours.

"A significant minority of respondents expressed concern about homosexuals, Muslims, people of a different race and refugees/asylum seekers becoming their neighbours," said the report.

"In contrast, only a small proportion of respondents expressed similar concerns about Protestants and Catholics."

Almost two thirds of those questioned thought that sectarian violence was either quite or very common in Glasgow.

A quarter thought that religion played a part in employment decisions, while a fifth thought that the police were involved in sectarian practices.

Treated unfairly

Those questioned also believed there was a strong link between sectarianism and the football supporters who follow Celtic and Rangers.

However, less than 1% said they had been the victim of violence, vandalism of harassment because of their religion, and similar numbers believed they had been treated unfairly by the police, council or other public body.

Only 1.1% of those surveyed thought they had been turned down for a job or unfairly treated at work.

Old Firm fans
Sectarianism and football were linked by some
"Sectarianism crime and discrimination in Glasgow may not be as common as racist crime and discrimination," said the report.

"Skin colour, race and country of origin were all commonly mentioned as reasons for crime and discrimination."

However, no conclusions could be reached about the level of the problems because of the small number of people from ethnic minorities who were involved in the survey.

Glasgow City Council said it was worried by the degree of racism which emerged from the survey.

However, it believes its policies on racism are working.


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