A new analysis by the Pew Research Center indicates that negative views towards Islam are on the rise in Europe.
In a data breakdown released on July 11, research directors Richard Wike, Bruce Stokes and Katie Simmons cited recent terror attacks and the ongoing refugee crisis as catalysts for the heated debate about the position of Muslims in European society.
The Pew Center polled individuals in 10 European nations: Hungary, Poland, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Greece, the U.K., France and Spain.
In the more eastern and southern nations, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Greece, more than 60 percent of those polled held unfavorable views of Muslims in their country. Unfavorable in the remaining countries ranged from 28 to 50 percent.
In all nations studied, the plurality or majority of individuals said they believe Muslims want to remain distinct from larger society rather than adapt to their nation’s customs.
In eight of the nations, more than half of the individuals polled said they believe incoming refugees would increase the likelihood of terrorism in their country. In France, 46 percent agreed, and in Spain, 40 percent agreed.
Across all the nations surveyed, a median of 30 percent said they believe that refugees are more responsible for crime than other groups, and a median of about 50 percent said that refugees were a burden on the country, taking up jobs and benefits.
The Muslim population of Europe has been rising steadily in recent decades. The Pew Center’s demographic data suggests that Muslims will make up 8 percent of Europe’s population by 2030.
According to Anthony Faiola of The Washington Post, anti-Islam policies are on the rise in European governments. Politicians in Germany and France have been pushing for policies banning headscarves in public places. European cities have also passed measures making it more difficult to build mosques or maintain Islam-adhering menus in restaurants.
Unfavorable views of Muslims have been central to a number of election and referendum campaigns in Europe recently. Anti-immigrant sentiments have been identified as a major factor in the recent U.K. referendum rejecting European Union membership.
Faiola cited statistics that indicate that violence against Muslims is on the rise in France and elsewhere in Europe. Attacks have included violence towards Muslim individuals as well as vandalism and arson attempts on mosques.