Muslims integrate in Europe despite discrimination: study

Muslim migrants in Europe have been largely successful in learning the language of their adoptive countries and finding jobs despite a fifth of the local population being opposed to their presence, according to a study published Thursday.

The Bertelsmann Foundation study looked at the Muslim populations of five countries — the U.K., Austria, Germany, Switzerland and France — and found that 76 percent of second-generation Muslims learned the local European language as their mother tongue.

Educational figures varied. While 90 percent of French Muslims stay in school until the age of 17, only 36 and 39 percent do the same in Germany and Austria.

Germany leads the way in labor integration, where the proportion of Muslims in the labor force is at parity with the general population. The study cited France’s “tight labor market” as why the unemployment rate for Muslims is at 14 percent, far higher than the 8 percent average for non-Muslims.

The study also found that devout Muslims are likely to be less well-educated, less likely to be employed and earn less than other Muslims. The inequality may be down to discrimination — the study also found that 20 percent of non-Muslims do not want to live next to a Muslim — but it may also be due to devout Muslims’ jobs conflicting with their religious duties, such as fasting or praying five times a day. [POLITICO] Read more

Survey finds Muslims well integrated into Swiss society

Muslims are generally well integrated into Swiss society, an international research project reports. Most feel a strong connection to Switzerland, despite facing Islamophobia, with nearly one in five Swiss saying they would not want Muslim neighbours.

A new “Religion Monitor” survey by the Germany-based Bertelsmann Foundation, published on Thursday, examined the language skills, level of education, employment and social engagement of Muslims in Switzerland, Germany, France, Austria and Britain. It found that 98% of Swiss Muslims – both of first and following generations – felt connected to Switzerland. The study did not cover refugees who arrived in Europe after 2010.

Around 350,000 and 400,000 Muslims live in Switzerland (population 8.3 million), around 12% of whom are Swiss citizens. They represent an extremely diverse community divided along ethnic and linguistic lines with around 80% originating from the Balkans region and Turkey. [] Read more

Integration of Muslims better in Germany than in rest of Europe: study

Muslims who have already lived in Germany for a while are better integrated than Muslims in other European countries, according to a study released by the Bertelsmann Foundation on Thursday. But the study revealed some weaknesses in integration, too.

The study called “Integrated, but not accepted?” compared the situations of Muslims who came to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Great Britain before 2010. Categories for assessment included language skills, education, work and social contact.

Germany came out on top in a few categories, including the integration of Muslim immigrants into the labour market and low unemployment.

About 60 percent of Germany’s 4.7 million Muslims are in full time employment, in line with the national average. The unemployment rate among German Muslims (including part-time jobs) is actually better than for the rest of the population. While the Bertelsmann Foundation found that 5 percent of Muslims were unemployed, it recorded that 7 percent of the rest of the population had no job.

Regarding language skills, only 46 percent of Muslims surveyed learned to speak German as a first language as children. In France, the percent of Muslims who learned the local language as children is 74 percent, and in Britain 59 percent. [The Local] Read more

Europe’s Muslims Are More Integrated Than You Think

Debates over immigration are fraught with misconceptions. One of the most common is that the integration of Muslims into societies in Western Europe has gone very badly, in large part because terror attacks loom so large in the news. Those attacks are a very real problem, yet they do not reflect the typical reality. A new study from the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany shows that Muslim integration in Europe is in fact proceeding at a reasonable pace.

The survey included more than 1,000 Muslims in Germany and about 500 in Austria, France, Switzerland and the U.K. (both immigrants and children of immigrants were included, though not recent refugees). Although this is hardly the first study of its kind, the results offer considerable hope for societies facing integration challenges: The stereotype of an uneducated, unemployed, easily radicalized Muslim migrant does not fit the facts.

The first sign of integration is language skill. About three-quarters of the Muslims born in Germany report German as their first language; 46 percent of foreign-born Muslims do. Overall, language skills improve with each generation, and migrants seem to be resourceful in finding ways to learn an adopted country’s tongue. Muslims immigrants to France and the U.K. often arrive knowing the languages of their new countries.

Only about one in 10 French Muslims report leaving school before age 17; the American high school graduation rate for all attendees is lower, at 83 percent. In Germany, employment for Muslim immigrants is on a par with employment for non-Muslims, though Muslim wages are lower.

The rate of unemployment for French Muslims is a disappointing 14 percent, but that looks less troubling when you consider that migrants are relatively young and French youth unemployment as a whole is about 25 percent. Labor market reforms and better economies can help integrate foreign migrants, and Europe is currently showing decent economic growth, again reasons for hope. [Bloomberg] Read more