Most of Germany's four million Muslims identify with the core values of democracy and plurality, according to a Bertelsmann Stiftung study.
90 percent of highly religious Muslims consider democracy a good form of government. This is one of the results of the special analysis of Islam from the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Religion Monitor 2013, published in Gutersloh on Thursday. Conversely, a survey conducted at the end of November 2014 shows that large parts of the non-Muslim population are hostile to Islam.
According to Bertelsmann, the Religion Monitor shows that Muslims are strongly attached to the basic values of the Federal Republic of Germany. The majority were both devout and liberal at the same time. 63 percent of Muslims who describe themselves as fairly or very religious regularly reconsider their religious views. A marriage among homosexuals agreed about 60 percent of them. By contrast, in Turkey, the main country of origin for Muslims in Germany, only one in three highly religious Muslims say they regularly reconsider their faith. Same-sex marriages are supported by only 12 percent of the highly religious.
Negative prejudices against Islam are growing
Despite Muslims' attachment to Germany, negative prejudices against Islam are growing here, it was reported. According to a representative Emnid survey commissioned by the foundation, 57 percent of non-Muslim German citizens perceive Islam as a threat, four percentage points more than in 2012. 61 percent of Germans think that Islam does not fit into the Western world (2012: 52 percent). 40 percent of respondents feel Muslims are strangers in their own country. One in four wants to ban Muslims from immigrating to Germany.
Neither political orientation, level of education nor social status significantly influence Germans' image of Islam, special evaluation says. Age and personal contact with Muslims are more important. Of those over 54, 61 percent felt threatened by Islam, but only 39 percent of those under 25. Fear is strongest where few Muslims live. In North Rhine-Westphalia, where a third of them live, 46 percent of citizens feel threatened. In Thuringia and Saxony, with a low proportion of Muslims, 70 percent say so.
Radical Islamists fuel negative image
The foundation's Islam expert, Yasemin El-Menouar, attributes the negative image to the minority of radical Islamists. There is a danger of widespread Islamophobia. There are many things that unite Muslims and non-Muslims. El-Menouar: "This can lead to a sense of unity."But this would require a stronger appreciation of Muslims and their religion.
According to the data, the Religion Monitor is based on representative surveys in various countries. An additional survey was launched at the end of November to compare with current opinion on Islam.