European Attitudes Towards Islam & Muslims: Britain, Germany, France
For Euro-Western supremacists and their Islamophobic allies negative attitudes to Islam and Muslims is in no way related to xenophobia against immigrants or age old hostilities to Islam and Muslims–it’s all the Mooslims fault, don’t ya know, “the Mooslims they’re here!!”
In the face of globalization, economic crises and anxiety over immigration, many in Western Europe are returning to redefining their identities in opposition to the “East,” to Islam and Muslims.
In France, practicing Islam apparently means that one is not French. According to a recent survey, 74% of the French believe “Islam is incompatible with French society.” Obviously, the question is: what does being French mean? Clearly, to be French you have to be White with a name like “Jacques” and not a “Mohammed” from amongst those who immigrated from France’s former colonies in the past 50-60 years.
PARIS – A new survey has found that French are growing concerned with immigrants, politicians, globalization and media, with 74 percent believe Islam is not compatible with French society, The Inquisitr reported.
“The French, or at least the vast majority of them, seem to be afraid of everything,” French historian Michel Wincock told Le Monde this week.
The survey, carried out by polling institute Ipsos and the Jean-Jaures Foundation, reflected a growing distrust of Islam and belief there are too many foreigners in France.
It found that only 29 percent of French people believe the “vast majority of immigrants who have settled in France are well-integrated”.
Forty-six percent of respondents believe that unemployment levels can only be cut by reducing immigration.
The poll, which included 1,000 people, showed that 62 percent of respondents say they no longer feel at home in France.
There was also worrying news for President François Hollande, with 87 percent of respondents agreeing with the notion that “France needs a true leader to restore order”.
The survey also revealed that the media is not held in high regard in France, with 73 percent of the belief it is not independent and a similar figure (72 percent) of the view that journalists are “not doing their job”.
France is home to a Muslim minority of six millions, Europe’s largest.
In October, a poll by Ifop’s opinion department found that almost half of French see Muslims as a threat to their national identity.
The poll also found that most French see Islam is playing too influential role in their society.
In 2004, France banned Muslims from wearing hijab, an obligatory code of dress, in public places. Several European countries followed the French example.
France has also outlawed the wearing of face-veil in public.
French Muslims have also complained of restrictions on building mosques to perform their daily prayers.
In the UK the question of “Britishness” is also an issue. What makes someone British? According todata presented by Baroness Warsi, it seems for some the unenlightened opinions haven’t changed much from the days when Anglican clergymen described Islam as the “most nauseaous of all abominations, Mohammedanism.” (In an 1877 letter from Stuart Poole to Henry Liddon)
Fewer than one in four people now believe that following Islam is compatible with a British way of life, Britain’s most senior Muslim minister will warn today.
Highlighting unpublished research showing that a majority of the country now believes that Islam is a threat to Western civilisation Baroness Sayeeda Warsi will say that “underlying, unfounded mistrust” of Muslims is in itself fuelling extremism.
And she will cite new figures from the Association of Chief Police Officers showing that between 50 to 60 per cent of all religious hate crimes reported to police in Britain are now perpetrated against Muslims.
“My fear is that seeing one community as the ‘other’ is a slippery slope that will enable extremists to advance their twisted interests unchecked,” she will say.
“I don’t have to remind anyone what happens when an unfounded suspicion of one people can escalate into unspeakable horror.”
She will cite new research by academics that shows that just 23 per cent of a representative sample questioned said that Islam was not a threat to Western civilisation.
Just 24 per cent thought Muslims were compatible with the British way of life – with nearly half of people disagreeing that Muslims were compatible.
This compares with research among Muslims that showed 83 per were proud to be British, compared to 79 per cent of Britons overall.
German attitudes towards Islam and Muslims don’t fare much better, 66% of Western Germans and 74% of Eastern Germans have “negative attitudes towards Muslims.”
[A] new study has revealed that Islamophobia has become culturally acceptable in the country and that the society is shifting its attention from xenophobia to religious bias against Muslims, The Local newspaper reported.
“It’s no longer ‘the Turks’ but ‘the Muslims’,” Wilhelm Heitmeyer, head of the institute for research of interdisciplinary conflict and violence at Bielefeld University, told theNeue Osnabrücker Zeitung, The Local reported.
A research by the Bielefeld University found that Islamophobia has become culturally acceptable in Germany.
Heitmeyer said that the general hostility against foreigners had given way to a growing rejection of Islam in Germany.
This bigotry, moving from the confines of ethnicity towards religious bias against Muslims, does not exist only in the far-right, he said.
Heitmeyer noted that anti-Muslim sentiments were also present in more left-leaning and centrist circles, appearing throughout the country from the highest echelons of society to the lowest.
The findings of are not new.
An earlier study from Munster University in 2010 found that 66 percent of western Germans and 74 percent of eastern Germans had a negative attitude towards Muslims.
A more recent study from the Allensbach Institute suggested that this had not changed over the past two years.
Asking German people about Islam, only 22 percent said they agreed with Germany’s former president Christian Wulff’s statement that Islam, like Christianity, was part of Germany.
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Aiman Mazyek, Head of the Central Council for Muslims in Germany, said police and intelligence officials still refuse to rank violent attacks against Muslims independently, grouping them with the broad category of xenophobia.
“By doing this, hostility against Islam is being blurred out,” said Mazyek, calling on the government to publish a yearly report about racism.
Germany has been recently gripped by a fierce debate on immigration and integration.
In 2009, central banker Thilo Sarrazin sparked a debate on integration after accusing Muslim immigrants of undermining the society which is becoming less intelligent because of them.
Chancellor Merkel weighed in, saying that multiculturalism has failed in Germany.
But the remarks have drawn angry reactions, with German president Wulff stressing that Islam is part and parcel of German society.
German politicians have also called for recognizing Islam as an official religion in the Christian-majority country.
But Germany’s new President Joachim Gauck sparked a storm of criticism last year by contradicting his predecessor’s view that Islam is part of Germany.
Of course, if the Islamophobes are to be believed these opinions have nothing to do with Islamophobia, xenophobia, fears with regards to the economy, globalization and identity politics. In their view French, British and German Muslims are to be blamed for such attitudes.
It is a time for real soul-searching in Western Europe, enough of the blame game and scapegoating. The duties of informed citizenship don’t lie only with Muslim citizens but also with non-Muslims, primarily those who make judgements of their Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens without having ever bothered to meet, talk, break bread with or learn about the Muslims in their midst.