Approximately 60 per cent of Germans and French see the Islamic religion as a threat to their cultural identity. In fact, approximately 70 per cent of French and 75 per cent of Germans think Muslims do not sufficiently adapt to society. These conclusions come from a survey published by the French Le Monde newspaper. The results of the said survey are very interesting and troubling for the future.
Voice of Germany (DW) reminds its audience that previously Munster University and the German market research firm named TNS Emnid had carried out a comparative study of five European countries regarding religious multiplicity. The DW says “the most comprehensive study carried out until know shows that Germans are less tolerant of religions other than Christianity compared to other countries”.
The said study included interviews with 5,000 people in Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and Portugal. Germany was chosen for its high Muslim population and unending debate on integration, France for the ban on the burqa and Denmark because of the cartoon crisis. Sociologist of religion Detlef Pollack who headed the study describes the findings as follows: “We have identified higher intolerance of religions other than Christianity among Germans compared with the other countries in the study.
They also react more strongly to the construction of new mosques and minarets.” According to reporting in the German press, the study also displays that compared to the other four countries, Germany is the one making the most effort towards creating an atmosphere of tolerance and equality towards other religions. Data from the study shows that only 40 per cent of Germans living in the west and 16 per cent of Germans living in the east of the country have a one on one daily relationship with Muslims. In France, the same figure is 66 per cent. Only 34 per cent of Germans hold positive thoughts about Muslims. In the other four countries the figure is above 50 per cent. To the question “does Islam fit the western world” slightly more than 20 per cent of Germans living in the west responded positively while slightly less than 20 per cent of those in the east did so.
Positive responses to these questions range between 25 to 30 per cent in the other countries. The study shows that 30 per cent of Germans have a negative perspective of Jews. The strange thing is that 80 per cent of Germans respond positively to the question “should all religions be respected”. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung there is an average positive response rate of 90 per cent to this question in other countries, and it is seen that there is a serious discrepancy between “displayed thought” and “true thought” in Germany. That 42 per cent of Germans should defend limitations on the worship of Muslims also points to this. For example, only 28.4 per cent of Germans are positive regarding the construction of new mosques and minarets.
The same figure ranges between 50 and 73.5 per cent in other countries. This picture does not fit in with the principles defended by the EU. These data show that there is a problem in the cornerstones of Europe. No one should blame the global crisis, the lack of information, or the inability of Muslims to get their points across. Lack of information cannot be an excuse in the information age. One cannot argue that in this age there is insufficient communication. There is a crisis and it is effective However, the data provided by the study cannot be explained by the crisis alone. It must not be forgotten that the figures were probably much the same before the crisis. European institutions need to urgently come up with solutions. This solution should meet the requirements of the European public opinion and rehabilitate those societies which need it.
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