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Germans less tolerant of Islam than neighbours, study finds

The Local · 2 Dec 2010, 07:03

Published: 02 Dec 2010 07:03 GMT+01:00

Despite the other European countries’ often fractious relationships with their Muslim communities, people there were relatively positive about Islam and its followers compared to Germany, according to the survey commissioned by a research group based at the University of Münster.

According to weekly Die Zeit, which reported on an advance version of the study on Thursday, four out of 10 Germans in the former west of the country and 50 percent in the former east feel threatened by foreign cultures.

“Compared with the French, Dutch and Danish, a rigid and intolerant grasp of foreign religions predominates in Germany,” said the head of the project, sociologist Detlef Pollack. “The statement that Islam is part of Germany is completely disregarded in the opinions of Germans.”

The polling firm TNS Emnid, on behalf of the Münster researchers, surveyed 1,000 people each in the former west and former east Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal. The study will be officially released later on Thursday in Berlin.

Fewer than 5 percent of Germans, compared with more than 20 percent of Danes, French and Dutch consider Islam to be a tolerant religion, according to the study.

Each of the other countries has had high-profile conflict with their Muslim communities – such as the Prophet Mohammed cartoons in Denmark, head scarf controversies in France and the murder of anti-Islam filmmaker Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, as well as the rise of far-right politician Geert Wilders.

Nevertheless, a clear majority of people in those countries have a positive view of Muslims. By contrast, just 34 percent of western Germans and 26 percent of eastern Germans are positive about Muslims.

Most Germans saw barely any positive side to Islam, Pollack said. Less than 30 percent in the former west supported the building of mosques, while in the former east the figure was less than 20 percent. The acceptance of minarets or the adoption of Muslim holidays received even less support.

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In Denmark, by comparison, more than half of respondents supported the building of mosques, while in France and the Netherlands the figure was about two-thirds and in Portugal it was nearly three quarters.

The Local/dw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:14 December 2, 2010 by raandy
Is anyone surprised???
16:12 December 2, 2010 by DinhoPilot
I am suprised. Or better was caught by suprise! I thought all the other countries were more xeno since they have more problems with the mus... O.k this is weird. You gotta love the un-entitlement foreigners get in this country.
16:18 December 2, 2010 by Englishted
Some of their neighbours?

What about the rest Poland ,Austria, Switzerland ect..

Stupid to only do a bit a draw conclusions based on that.

"Most Germans saw barely any positive side to Islam" better than me I can't find any at all , but please enlighten me as to what is even "barely".
17:51 December 2, 2010 by Lancer565
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:30 December 2, 2010 by Landmine
"Most Germans saw barely any positive side to Islam".

Is there a positive side to Islam?
18:32 December 2, 2010 by AusHessen
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:16 December 2, 2010 by proclusian
This is a rather silly study--it seems more politically motivated than anything: as in -- let's give the German public something to feel guilty about so perhaps we will push attitudes more towards 'tolerance.'

As @Englishted indicates, the proper context for comparison is within the German-speaking lands, and perhaps also Poland and the Benelux area -- and, I must say, it seems to me that, compared to Switzerland and Austria, at least, the Germans are positively enlightened.

Also, the French talk a nice line about foreigners, but their government's actions reveal a different attitude.

And what about the government which the Dutch have just elected? I don't know about the 1000 people interviewed, but this government speaks volumes about Dutch anti-Islamic attitudes.

Germany is just fine the way it is.
20:42 December 2, 2010 by catjones
Germany is just fine the way it is......if you're a bigot.
00:31 December 3, 2010 by Edin
The comments above actually say it all. It is a pure racism. Islam is a religion and as such everyones personal choice. In Germany, and most western countries alike, as it turns out, its OK to be Gay, Punker, Witch, Satanist, Neo-Nazi, Hindu, Jew, Christian, even a Frutarian etc..... but hay not a Muslim.

It is called Islamophobia and anti-semitism, ....but who am I talking to?!... You are proud of it.
01:09 December 3, 2010 by moorekwesi
@Edin..Moslems are against everything western and rather think the westerners are indiscipline and infidels.this afternoon after a discussion with a Moslem who i thought was seeking asylum and will rather be thankful to his host..he rather thinks his host is stupid because he allows his children to choose their religion and go out when they want.He's happy a relative of Tony Blair is a Muslim but angry towards Moslem who change to Christianity.

To him,one has to be compelled to abide by religion even if it takes punishment.This must be a worry..I was never worried about Moslems until today.Deep hatred and anger because he feels everyone hates him..

i really think,the issue of Islam should be discussed thoroughly because today changed my thoughts about Islam.After all the education,they still believe,people should be killed for doing something wrong.Don't they know Religion differs from governance?

Although,i'm not German,i really think,this issue must be thoroughly discussed and rules laid down..if this current generation doesn't deal with it,the end of the 21st century will be a war of religion.

Stay safe.
05:47 December 3, 2010 by rgmx4u
Less tolerant? I MUST be tolerant? I must tolerate religiously fanatic people who do not tolerate me by calling me a Kaffir and threatening to sodomise my wife as punishment for no other reason than I'm not belong to their religion? While in the same breath they claim "respect" as there would be a right to respect. Who can respect that kind of rabble?

I had discussions with Muslims and I will not have another one because I may as well go and find a donkey to have a conversation with.

However, by all means, you people try to be tolerant to the intolerant and see what you get in return.
15:08 December 3, 2010 by fd_1971
@ moorekwesi ... you had a conversation with ONE Moslem and you have made a conclusion that Moslems are against everything western and rather think the westerners are indiscipline and infidels!!!!

You did not tell us what type of background this person have and what level of education he/she has? Have you ever visited an Arab country ... have you ever been to Dubi, Tunisia, Jordan, ... etc. ... you will be surprised how tolerant the Muslims/Arabs are! Have you ever met a German Muslim ... or did you ever listen to people from your own culture like Cat Stevens talking about Islam ... I guess not!!

You see ... you (and many others) making a conclusion about a religion (Islam) and hundreds of millions of Muslims (of different races and backgrounds) ... just because you had a bad experience with few Muslims.

If one would take the same approach .. then one would easily conclude Christianity is the worst religion ... after all it is the Christian who used nuclear weapon to kill almost 150,000 people instantly ... and it is the European Christian who invaded most of the Muslim world (for no reason) killing in the process close to 5m people (in the middle east alone) , ... it is the Christian who started WWI & WWII ..., last year a young Christian immigrant from Russia killed a Muslim woman inside a German court room with the presence of her child and husband ... do you now why ... because she wore a head scarf ... what do you call this ... Christian tolerance!!!!

moorekwesi (and others) ... if you want to make a judgement on the region of Islam ... then study Islam .... if you want to make judgement on Muslims then find good Muslims (with good education) and have a proper discussion with them ... talking to the first Muslim you meet in the street is not good enough to make such a critical conclusion!

If there is a problem in the immigration system ... then let us define and correct the problem without making general negative statements about religion and people ... this is called bigotry and racism!!

God bless you all!
20:13 December 3, 2010 by Englishted
In reply to fd_1971

"and it is the European Christian who invaded most of the Muslim world (for no reason) killing in the process close to 5m people (in the middle east alone) , "

Sorry but Islam invaded europe first and controled half of Spain and were only stopped outside Vienna.

"Russia killed a Muslim woman inside a German court room with the presence of her child and husband ... do you now why ... because she wore a head scarf ... what do you call this ... Christian tolerance!!!!"

No he commited a crime under German law ,unlike in some muslim countries where it is a crime to not wear a headscarf,and to convert to christanity is a crime punishable by death.

I think I will remain a faily tolerant atheist.

So keep you "god bless you all"
21:25 December 5, 2010 by wxman
Headline should read, "Germans Less Tolerant of Islamic Fascists Than Their Neighbours". Do you suppose that might be because they've seen it all before and know how it ends?
17:42 December 21, 2010 by IrokoAfrika
Sakhos Silas Ejiofoh


Religion is a belief and ideology which suppose to be a personal thing, but unfortunately our societies mixed up religion with governance.

The west is accusing the Islamic world of fanaticism where as they are guilty of the same offence. Much as the Islamic world cannot separate government and politics from religion so also are western nations.

The religious echoes such as: `Allah Akbar` `Alhamdulillah` one hears every known and then from notable Islamic nations such as Indonesia, Iran, Irak, Pakistan, the middle-east, etc, are also heard even louder in America and the west.

Let me just give two examples from a truck load of others: Americans gave themselves the title of `God¦#39;s own country` and proclaimed `In God we trust`

In Germany the government is predominantly members from the Christian Democratic Union ­ CDU

Well, I am neither a Muslim nor a Christian though I do honour both groups and many others whenever I am invited, tolerance should be paramount in our society irrespective of religious beliefs.

I am AFRICANIST and among other things, I believe that as a human being your shadow suppose to be your watch man and religion, so whenever you do something wrong your conscience MUST prick you, and you do not need any kind of religion to caution you.

And to make the whole argument and long sotry a short one

Let us unite and make the world conducive for living!

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