Published September 29, 2016
A new poll from Market and Media Research shows the vast majority of Icelanders are opposed to one aspect of the country’s religious freedom laws: that free plots of land are granted to religious organisations for building houses of worship.
According to the results, 75.9% said they were opposed to the practice, with 48.3% saying they were very opposed. By contrast, only 8% said they supported the law, while 16% had no opinion.
There was not much difference across demographics, although Icelanders aged 68 and older were about twice as likely to support the law than any other age group.
In terms of political affiliation, voters for only three parties showed support for the law over 10%: the Pirate Party (11.4%), the Social Democrats (16.6%) and the Left-Greens (17.1%). The highest level of opposition was amongst Progressive Party voters, of whom 79.5% expressed opposition to free plots of land for religious groups.
While the law has been on the books for decades, it only recent gained attention a few years ago, when the Muslim Society of Iceland sought approval for a plot of land for building their own mosque, with their own funding. This request was vehemently opposed by many; most notably, the Progressive Party, who made it a campaign issue during 2014 municipal elections.