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31 May, 2018 06:26

Over 40% of western Europeans find Islam ‘incompatible’ with their values – poll

Over 40% of western Europeans find Islam ‘incompatible’ with their values – poll

Some 42 percent of people across western Europe believe Islam is incompatible with their values, a new Pew survey has found, noting that Christian-affiliated responders are more likely to reject foreigners in their community.

In recent years, Europe has experienced a record influx of asylum-seekers and migrants from predominantly Muslim countries who are fleeing conflicts across the Middle East and North Africa. The wave of migration, encouraged by the German ‘open-door’ refugee policy, has prompted a heated public debate about immigration, border control, and security policies across Europe.

A new Pew Research Center survey has found that around 42 percent of the general population across 15 western European states believe that “Islam is fundamentally incompatible” with their national values and culture. Twenty-six percent of them believe that migrants from the Middle East are dishonest.

The survey further studied the correlation between Christian affiliation and nationalism, and found that less-religious people are more likely to welcome foreigners who come from different cultures and share different beliefs. “Both church-attending and non-practicing Christians are more likely than religiously unaffiliated adults in Western Europe to voice anti-immigrant and anti-minority views,” the survey said.

“Christian identity in Western Europe is associated with higher levels of negative sentiment toward immigrants and religious minorities,” the 168-page study, titled ‘Being Christian in Western Europe,’ claims.

For instance, 45 percent of churchgoers in the UK say that Islam is incompatible with their values. The rate is even higher among non-practicing Christians (47 percent).

Despite the findings that non-religious people are less likely to show nationalistic tendencies, 30 percent of UK responders in that category say Islam is fundamentally incompatible with their country’s values. In Germany, 55 percent of church attending parishioners believe that Islam is ill-matched with their culture, compared with 45 percent among non-practicing Christians and 32 percent with non-affiliated responders.

Overall, the Pew Research Center survey of 24,599 randomly selected adults across western European nations found that 38 percent would welcome a reduction in migration levels.

The influx of migrants triggered the rise of anti-migrant sentiments and right-wing parties across Europe, such as France’s National Front and Alternative for Germany (AfD), which gathered unprecedented support during German federal elections in 2017. The loss in popular support resulted in Angela Merkel rethinking her approach towards the issue of migration. While she has long defended her open-door policy, despite the outcry from local communities and politicians, in 2016 she admitted that her ‘we can do it’ motto became “an empty formula.”

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