Majority of Germans think Islam does not ‘belong’ in their country

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s public calls for tolerance and inclusivity are increasingly falling on deaf ears, a new survey into Germany’s attitudes towards Islam shows.

A new poll shows almost two-thirds of Germans think Islam does not “belong” in their country. In a marked increase from a similar survey conducted six years ago in which a minority of Germans (47 per cent) thought Islam had no place in their nation, the latest poll shows the figure is now at 60 per cent.

That survey was provoked by then-President Christian Wulff’s assertion that Islam was a part of the German nation, which sparked a furious backlash from social commentators.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeated Mr Wulff’s line on several occasions, but she has been undermined by her own interior minister’, who publically stated that Islam “does not belong” in Germany. [The Independent] Read more

Does Islam Belong to Germany? “Islam is a political ideology that is not compatible with the German Constitution.”

Nearly two-thirds of Germans believe that Islam does not belong to Germany, according to a recent opinion poll, which also found that only 22% of Germans consider Islam to be an integral part of German society.

In a similar poll conducted in January 2015, 37% of Germans said that Islam belongs to Germany, 15% more than now. The results indicate that German attitudes toward Islam are hardening after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than 1.1 million mostly Muslim migrants to enter Germany in 2015.

The poll has opened yet another chapter in the decade-long debate over the phrase, “Islam belongs to Germany.” The words were first uttered in September 2006 — at the time there were 3.5 million Muslims in Germany, compared to nearly six million today — by then Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

Speaking ahead of the first-ever German-Islam Conference, the first institutionalized dialogue between representatives of the German government and of Muslims in Germany, Schäuble said: “Islam is a part of Germany and a part of Europe. Islam is a part of our present and a part of our future. Muslims are welcome in Germany.” [Gatestone Institute] Read more

Germany’s far-Right AfD party ‘has more public support than ever’

Angela Merkel on Thursday warned that Europe risks a “return to nationalism” if it does not secure its external borders, as polls showed support for the far-Right is rising in Germany amid growing fears of Islam.

“The future of Europe is at stake,” the German chancellor said in a passionate plea to preserve freedom of movement and the Schengen Agreement on border-free travel within the continent.

Even as she spoke, a new poll released on Thursday showed support for the far-Right Alternative for Germany(AfD) party is at its highest ever.

“Europe stretches from the North Pole to the Mediterranean. We must defend the Schengen Treaty and the external borders, or we risk a return to nationalism,” Mrs Merkel said.

She was speaking at a joint press conference in Rome with Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister.

Both leaders spoke out against plans by Austria to close its border with Italy at the Brenner Pass, to prevent migrants entering. [The Telegraph] Read more

Almost two-thirds of Germans think Islam doesn’t “belong” to their country-poll

Almost two-thirds of Germans think Islam does not “belong” to their country, a survey showed on Thursday, indicating changing attitudes following militant Islamist attacks in Europe and the arrival of more than a million, mostly Muslim, migrants last year.

Former German president Christian Wulff sparked controversy in 2010 when he said Islam belonged to Germany, a comment repeated by Chancellor Angela Merkel last year.

Six years ago, 49 percent of Germans agreed with Wulff and 47 percent did not.

Thursday’s poll, carried out by Infratest dimap for broadcaster WDR, showed that the mood has shifted, with 60 percent now saying that Islam does not belong to Germany. It showed 34 percent thought it did belong.

Scepticism about the religion was greatest among older people, with 71 percent over the age of 64 believing Islam does not belong to the country.

Germany is home to around four million Muslims, about five percent of the total population, and unease over the religion is on the rise, especially in the wake of deadly Islamic State attacks in Brussels and Paris.

Earlier this month members of the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) backed an election manifesto that says Islam is not compatible with the constitution and calls for a ban on minarets and the burqa. [Reuters] Read more

Almost two thirds of Germans believe Islam ‘does not belong in Germany,’ poll finds

A survey has found that 60 percent of Germans believe Islam “does not belong in Germany.” The figures come amid growing skepticism towards the religion, particularly among center-right and right-wing German parties.

The poll, published on Thursday, found that 34 percent of respondents believe Islam is a part of Germany, which has a population of between 2.1 million and 4 million Muslims.

The figures show a significant shift in public opinion since 2010, when the then German President Christian Wulff said in a speech that Islam is part of Germany. At the time, 49 percent of respondents agreed with the president while 47 percent rejected his statement.

Reservations over Islam were also more apparent among older Germans, with 71 percent of those aged over 64 stating that Islam does not belong to Germany. In contrast, almost half of Germans aged between 18 and 34 said that Islam does belong there.

Concerns over influence of Islam

The survey, carried out by Infratest dimap for German public broadcaster WDR, comes amid growing skepticism towards Islam in Germany, particularly among supporters of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) and free-market Free Democratic Party (FDP). [Deutsche Welle] Read more