Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Xenophobia in Germany on the rise

More than one out of three Germans believes foreigners only come to the country to exploit the welfare state, a study on authoritarian attitudes in Germany says.

 Almost one out of two people in eastern Germany believes this to be true, and almost as many people are convinced Germany is already "dangerously watered down" by foreigners — 35.6 percent of those interviewed overall held that conviction (44.6 percent among eastern Germans).

More than 30 percent of the people living in eastern Germany unanimously agree with xenophobic views.

The study found that prejudice against migrants has increased in general, in particular against Muslims, Sinti and Roma. The latter groups face significant aggression. 

Almost 60 percent of the people who participated in the study agreed with the assumption that Sinti and Roma are prone to crime — almost 5 percent more than in the 2014 study.

More than 44 percent of those surveyed believe Muslims should be banned from immigrating to Germany, compared to 36.5 percent four years ago.

 More than one out of two (55.8 percent) said that the number of Muslims in Germany made them feel like strangers in their own country sometimes, compared to 43 percent in 2014.

 One out of 10 people questioned felt Jews still have "too much of an influence even today" and almost as many said there is something special and peculiar about Jews and thus they "do not really fit in with us," according to the study. 

Its authors suspect that even more Germans harbor anti-Semitic feelings but won't admit to them in public because doing so is not socially accepted.

Not all Germans have equally benefited from the country's overall positive economic development over the past few decades, resulting in anger and aggression among those feeling left behind. Xenophobia has proven to be the perfect outlet to direct their frustration, he said.

 Almost 8 percent of the participants in the study said a dictatorship might be the better form of government under certain circumstances, while 11 percent said they wanted a leader who "governs the country with a firm hand for the good of all."

Voters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in particular harbor xenophobic (55 percent) and anti-democratic (13.2 percent) views, according to the study, which found that the AfD offers people "with a right-wing extremist view of the world" a political platform. At roughly 20 percent, xenophobia among the voters of Germany's establishment parties — the conservative Christian Democratic Union, its Bavarian Christian Social Union sister party, the center-left Social Democrats and the business-friendly Free Democrats — is quite high, too.

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