• 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
Brexit vote
British business owner in Germany: why I support Brexit
Alexander McWhinney, owner of The English Shops. Photo: Private.

Scottish business owner Alexander McWhinney tells The Local why he supported the vote for a Brexit despite being an expat - much to the surprise of employees at his stores in the Rhineland.

Germany seeks seat on UN security council
The United Nations Security Council. Photo: DPA

Berlin last had a seat at the highest table of international security in 2011-12. Now the Foreign Minister has announced that Germany wants the role again.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Britain can’t cherry-pick Brexit terms
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that the EU could survive a Brexit and warned Britain the union would not tolerate "cherry-picking" in upcoming negotiations on their future relations.

This film makes Darmstadt look more romantic than Paris
The Russian Orthodox Church in Darmstadt. Source: City, Light and Movement.

Not quite sure where Darmstadt is? A short film shot by a Syrian refugee will have you rushing to locate it on a map.

VW agrees to $14.7 bn payout in US emissions probe
Photo: DPA

Volkswagen has agreed to pay out $14.7 billion in a settlement with US authorities and car owners in the probe over its emissions-cheating diesel-powered cars, court documents showed Tuesday.

Brexit vote
Left leader calls for German referendum on EU deals
Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht. Photo: DPA.

The left-wing leader of the official opposition party in Germany said that it’s time the German people also have a say on what goes on in Brussels.

Teacher overpaid quarter of a million euros. No one notices
Photo: DPA

The Düsseldorf teacher was paid a full-time salary for six years, despite only working part time.

Euro 2016
Germans react with glee to England’s Iceland humiliation
Distraught England players after Iceland defeat. photo: DPA

Still upset by their British brothers voting for Brexit, Germans expressed an overwhelming sense of Schadenfreude at England's Euro 2016 exit.

Cleaning spray sets off shock explosion in Frankfurt cafe
Photo: Frankfurt fire department.

Four people have been injured in an explosion at a cafe in a Frankfurt shopping district. The culprit: cleaning products.

Brexit vote
Merkel vows to create 'new impulse' for EU
Chancellor Angela Merkel with French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy vowed on Monday "a new impulse" for the EU as it reels from Brexit.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,865
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd