Fifty percent of Germans believe Islam is a threat, according to a recent study by Bertelsman Foundation Religious Monitor, published on Thursday.
The German public service television channel ARD highlights that half of those living in West Germany and 57% in the east of the country consider Islam to be a threat. 30 percent of East Germans and 16 percent of Westerners don’t want their neighbor to be Muslim. The ARD notes that in the western part of the country, more Muslims live than in the former GDR.
While Christianity, Jewish religion, Hinduism, and Buddhism were considered by many to be enriching Germany, only one-third of respondents think that this is the case with Islam.
The authors of the study warn that intolerance against other religions can be as damaging to democracy as religious dogmas, and that restricted and rejection views can pose a threat to political culture. According to Yasemin el-Menouar, a religious researcher at the foundation, many consider Islam to be not a religion but a political ideology. Rauf Ceylan, an Islamic expert, pointed out that the fear of German Islamization was not the result of the 2015 migration crisis, but had been rooted in German society a decade earlier.
Research also finds that those who are in regular contact with followers of other religions are less averse to them and tend to appreciate Islam as a social enriching and non-threatening factor.
The study also discusses how the followers of each religion judge democracy, and finds it irrelevant that the support of a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, democracy as a form of government is overwhelming, 89 percent. Interestingly, the belief in democracy is lower among those who do not consider themselves religious; Christians 93, 91 per cent of Muslims, and 83 per cent of those who say they are unrelenting support democratic values and principles.