Terror and Tolerance: The Challenge of Inclusion of Muslims in Western Europe

Paul M. Sniderman, Rune Slothuus, Michael Bang Petersen, Rune Stubager, Robert Ford, Maria Sobolewska

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


As Sullivan, Piereson, and Marcus argue with reference to political tolerance more broadly, how citizens react to terror speaks to the character of liberal democracies under stress. In this study, we investigate how Danes reacted to the terrorist attack in Copenhagen on February 14-15, 2015. The question is whether the reactions of a significant number of the majority to Muslim minorities will harden, become more hostile, less accommodating. It would be an indefensible mistake to underestimate the forces of resistance to Muslim immigrants becoming full members of a common community. But our results here-that there was minimal or no backlash against Muslim immigrants even in the immediate aftermath of terrorist attacks-reinforce previous findings about the strength of the commitment of a majority to the rights of a minority. Further, we believe that our results bring out some unappreciated strengths of contemporary liberal democracies. We also draw methodological lessons from this study. In response to the current concern over the fragility of social science findings, we believe that distinguishing between conceptual and operational replication may point a way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAt the Forefront of Political Psychology : Essays in Honor of John L. Sullivan
EditorsEugene Borgida, Christopher M. Federico, Joanne M. Miller
Number of pages19
Place of publicationNew York
Publication date2020
ISBN (Print)9780367368173, 9780367368111
ISBN (Electronic)9780429351549
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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