Muslim and Non-Muslim Adolescents’ Reasoning About Freedom of Speech and Minority Rights


concerning this article should be addressed to Maykel Verkuyten, Faculty of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, Heidelberglaan 2, 3584 CS Utrecht, the Netherlands. Electronic mail may be sent to


An experimental questionnaire study, conducted in the Netherlands, examined adolescents’ reasoning about freedom of speech and minority rights. Muslim minority and non-Muslim majority adolescents (12–18 years) made judgments of different types of behaviors and different contexts. The group membership of participants had a clear effect. Muslim participants were less in favor of freedom of speech if it involved the offending of religious beliefs and were more in favor of Muslim minority rights. There were also cross-group gender differences whereby parental practices that negatively affect females were more strongly rejected by Muslim females than by Muslim males and non-Muslim females and males. The findings are discussed with reference to social-cognitive domain theory and intergroup theories.