Anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim attitudes increasing in Europe

Anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attitudes have been rising nearly in tandem in several European countries, apparently reflecting concerns over immigration, globalization and economic ills, according to a new international survey.

Anti-Jewish feelings were particularly strong in Spain, Poland and Russia - with negativity up significantly since 2006, according to the Pew Research Center's polling. Anti-Muslim views were also strong in those three countries, as well as in Germany and France.

"There is a clear relationship between anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim attitudes," said the report from Pew, released Wednesday. "Publics that view Jews unfavorably also tend to see Muslims in a negative light."


In Europe, negative views of Jews and Muslims were strongest among older people, the less educated and those of the political right.

In some countries, including Germany, negative feelings toward Jews had risen along with favorable feelings - fewer people were left undecided.

Moreover, positive views toward Jews outweighed negative ones in every European country surveyed but Spain.

Still, 46 percent of the Spanish held negative opinions of Jews, as did 36 percent of Poles and 34 percent of Russians. The three countries on average were 6 points more negative than in 2006.

"There may be some backlash toward minority groups going on in Europe as a consequence of the EU's expansion and globalization," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center. As for the Spanish, "I think they're on the cutting edge of globalization - with Muslim immigrants" in large numbers.

In contrast to the other countries, 77 percent of Americans held favorable views toward Jews, compared with 7 percent unfavorable. Britain stood out among Europeans, with 73 percent favorable toward Jews, compared with 9 percent unfavorable.

Views of Muslims tended to be more negative than those of Jews.

Fully half of the Spanish and Germans surveyed had unfavorable opinions of Muslims, as did nearly half the Poles and 32 percent of Russians.

One in four British and American respondents had negative views of Muslims.

There seemed to be a closer correlation with immigration and economic trends in the most negative societies than with the size of resident Jewish or Muslim populations. Germany and France have large Muslim populations, while Poland has a small one. Spain has a tiny Jewish population.


Source: IHT (English), Pew report

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