Gütersloh. According to a recent study, around half of Germans perceive Islam as a threat. In East Germany, the proportion is even higher at 57 percent than in West Germany (50 percent), as the Bertelsmann Stiftung announced on Thursday in Gütersloh at the presentation of the current »Religion Monitor«.
Apparently, many people would view Islam as less a religion than political ideology, said Bertelsmann Foundation religion expert Yasemin El-Menouar. The social debates and media reports of recent years have also often put Islam in a negative and critical context.
According to the Osnabrück expert on Islam, Rauf Ceylan, the negative image of Islam in Germany is strongly influenced by the debate about immigration. “The discourse on Islam and migration has been merging for several years,” Ceylan told the Evangelical Press Service. Global conflicts in the Middle East would also be associated with Islam.
The majority of German citizens (87 percent) is, according to the investigation, admittedly fundamentally open to other worldviews. But barely any second German is of the opinion that religious plurality enriches society. Only one-third of the population views Islam as an enrichment. Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism, on the other hand, are considered enriching by a majority.
Through personal encounters, the rejection of Islam decreases according to the study. People who regularly have contact with members of other religions are said to find religious diversity and Islam less a threat. Nearly every second person in the group (46 percent) sees Islam as an enrichment. For people who have little personal contact with other religions, however, 64 percent consider Islam threatening.
According to the study, religious people see democracy as a good form of government rather than non-religious people. The proportion among Christians is 93 percent and that of Muslims is 91 percent. For non-religious people, however, only 83 percent support democracy.
The »Religion Monitor« of the Bertelsmann Stiftung examines internationally the significance of religion for social cohesion. Basics are representative population surveys. The results of the study are based on data from the »Religion Monitor« 2017; moreover, in the spring of 2019, about 1,000 Germans were interviewed by the infas Institute for Applied Social Science in Bonn. epd / nd
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