A new survey has found that almost one fifth of European citizens do not want to live next door to adherents of the Islamic faith.
The research was carried out by Germany’s Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation as part of the Religious Monitor 2017 project, and interviewed 10,000 people in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and the UK. These countries are home to around 14 million Muslims. “20 percent of citizens questioned say they do not want to have Muslims as neighbours,” Bertelsmann Stiftung said.
According to the survey, the level of concern over Islam is the highest in Austria at 28 per cent, and the lowest in France at 14 per cent. Muslimpress also revealed that the same survey states that 31 per cent of people in the five countries didn’t want to live near refugees generally, irrespective of their religion.
Bertelsmann Stiftung also addressed discrimination against Muslims in the European labor market in its paper. Highly religious Muslims have more difficulty finding a job in accordance with their qualification than less devoted followers, the finding also states. However, this is “everywhere, except in the UK”.
Muslims were also being paid less, especially in Germany, as they usually occupy low-wage positions, it added. “So far, no country in Western Europe has found a convincing strategy that addresses both equal opportunity as well as respect for religious diversity,” Yasemin El-Menouar, Islam expert at Bertelsmann Stiftung, said.
Other data gathered by Religious Monitor 2017 suggests that Muslims are also well-integrated into mainstream society in Europe. Second and third generation Muslims living in Europe have much better knowledge of the local language, better education and better jobs compared to the recent arrivals.
The children of most immigrants are learning the tongue of their country of residence as their first language, Bertelsmann Stiftung said. Over 90 percent of immigrant kids have French as their primary language in France, with 80 percent of Muslims born in Britain learning English as children.
“Seventy-five percent of Muslims regularly spend their free time with non-Muslims,” the research said. According to Bertelsmann Stiftung, around 94 per cent Muslims, interviewed by the foundation, said that they felt connected with the European country they live in.
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