• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
57 percent of Germans feel Islam is a threat: poll
Muslim women hold signs reading "we want to continue" and "we live for integration" in German. Photo: DPA

57 percent of Germans feel Islam is a threat: poll

AFP/The Local · 8 Jan 2015, 17:57

Published: 08 Jan 2015 10:59 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Jan 2015 17:57 GMT+01:00

The survey was carried out in November - before the massacre of journalists in Paris by Islamist gunmen - but as the numbers attending anti-Muslim rallies in Dresden and other cities began to escalate.

The Bertelsman Foundation think tank survey looked at the perception of Islam in Germany from the eyes of Muslims and non-Muslims. Of the non-Muslims surveyed, 57 percent thought that Islam was threatening or very threatening to German society.

TNS Emnid, which conducted the survey for the Bertelsman Foundation think tank, said it's a rise of four percent since 2012 when the study was last conducted. The research institute surveyed 937 non-Muslim Germans for the survey in November 2014. 

Even more respondents felt that Islam did not fit into western society: 61 percent said not really or not at all. A rise of nine percent over 2012.

Forty percent felt like "foreigners in their own country" because of the perceived increase in the Muslim population. 

On the other side, Muslims living in Germany feel "closely connected" to the state and society in which they are living in, Yasemin El-Menouar, a Islam expert for Bertelsmann publishing house told Spiegel Online.

Almost a quarter of non-Muslim respondents – 24 percent – feels that Muslims should not be allowed to immigrate to Germany.

Asked on Thursday about relations between Muslims and non-Muslims in the wake of the
Paris rampage, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who condemned the attack as "despicable", sought to calm fears.


"We have very good ties with the vast majority of Muslims in Germany. All have been clear in their statements on terrorist attacks," she said.

She acknowledged that there were also "unfortunately some individuals in Germany" who had "joined the jihadists" and said the country must maintain existing security measures.

"We do everything we can so that people of every faith -- be they Jewish, Christian, Muslim or of no religion at all -- will be protected in the same way."

The attitudes of non-Muslims to their Muslim neighbours only does more to create separate societies within Germany as they further live under the shadow of extremist groups like al-Qaida and Islamic State (Isis).

Nine out of 10 Muslims interviewed said they had regular contact with non-Muslims. Half say they have as much contact with people outside of their religion as they do with other Muslims. Only nine percent of respondents said they had no contact with non-Muslims. Meanwhile, 63 percent of non-Muslims reported having no contact with Muslims.

Furthermore, 90 percent of Sunni Muslims, the largest sect of Islam and often considered the most orthodox, said that democracy was a good form of government. Fifty-eight percent supported same-sex marriage.

There are four million Muslims in Germany, of which nearly three-quarters have Turkish roots. Most of the Turkish Islamic population considers itself Sunni-Muslim.

The authors said that anti-Islam stances could be found regardless of class or education level, but that younger people and those with personal contacts with Muslims showed less prejudice.

Story continues below…

More than three-quarters of respondents aged 55 and older (76 percent) felt that Islam was a threat. Meanwhile, 54 percent of respondents aged 16 to 39 felt threatened by Islam, though that is still more than half.  

Regional differences were also strong. In North Rhine-Westphalia, where a third of Muslims in Germany reside, 46 percent of non-Muslims felt threatened by Islam in Germany. Saxony, where the so-called patriotic Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) movement has its stronghold, has very few Muslim residents but the most amount of non-Muslim respondents who feel threatened by Islam (78 percent).
 
More support for xenophobic movement?

Germany has been rocked by anti-migrant marches in the eastern city of Dresden, which began small in October but have grown in support over the last month, now attracting around 18,000 people each week.

Pegida issued a statement on its Facebook page saying that the killing of 12 people by Islamist gunmen at the satirical paper Charlie Hebdo in Paris Wednesday confirmed their views.

"The Islamists, which PEGIDA has been warning about for 12 weeks, showed France that they are not capable of democracy but rather look to violence and death as an answer," it said. "Our politicians want us to believe the opposite. Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany first???"

Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged Germans not to attend the marches, accusing them of stoking "hatred", and encouraged counterdemonstrators, who have managed to outnumber PEGIDA protesters in recent weeks at gatherings across the country.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Finally, west Germans are the ones trying to get into the east
Dresden is experiencing a population boom. Photo: DPA

A quarter century after the fall of the Berlin wall people are moving from west Germany to the former east in greater numbers than vice versa.

Don't adopt Armenia genocide bill, Turkey warns Berlin
A memorial to the Armenian genocide in Yerevan, Armenia. Photo: DPA

German politicians will vote on Thursday on a resolution to recognize the Armenian genocide. Ankara has threatened consequences.

Puzzled cops pull pair of legs out of bin for second time
Photo: Polizei Bremen

When police in Bremen found a pair of legs sticking out of a recycling bin, the body attached to them gave the same implausible explanation he had done four months earlier.

Confused Spaniard to blame for alarm at Cologne airport
Police search Terminal 1 at Cologne airport with the help of a dog on Monday. Photo: DPA

A man has been arrested at Cologne-Bonn airport after a security alert forced police to evacuate all passengers.

North and east Germany next to face fierce storms
A storm in Brandenburg in 2015. Photo: DPA

The German Weather Service (DWD) has issued a weather warning for the north and east of the country, after the west and south took a battering over the weekend.

Granny, 91, walks away after falling under express train
Photo: DPA

An old lady had a miraculous escape in northern Germany when she was run over by a train travelling at 160 km/h. She only suffered light injuries.

Opinion
Battle over Boateng unmasks the racism of the AfD
Jerome Boateng wearing the stand-in captain's armband at a Sunday friendly against Slovakia. Photo: DPA

Berlin-based journalist Musa Okwonga argues that the row over national footballer Jerome Boateng shows the AfD is a racist party - not the defenders of European culture they claim to be.

Three dead as floods wreak havoc in southern Germany
The aftermath in the town of Braunsbach. Photo: DPA

At least three people have lost their lives as extreme weather, including flash floods, hail storms and lightning storms wreaked havoc in southern Germany on Sunday evening.

German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks
Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father, was born and brought up in Berlin. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

Dozens hit by lightning strike in west Germany
Witnesses to the lightning strike said it came out of the blue. Photo: DPA

35 people were injured in the west German village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children's football match.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
The headless sex doll that put Lübeck police on high alert
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
5,853
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd