More than half the German people fear the rise of Islam in their country, including two thirds of over-45s, a study has found.
The study, conducted by polling firm INSA Consulere for the Evangelical News Agency, found 57 per cent of Germans hold a negative few of Islam in their country, including 61 per cent of women. Less than a third of respondents did not share this fear.
The fear of Islam is also particularly strong among Catholics at 61.5 percent, mainline Protestants at 59.6 per cent and other Christians at 55.5 per cent. Non-churchgoers are also wary of rising Islam, with 57 per cent saying they fear it.
The survey comes as German Chancellor Angel Merkel faces increasing criticism over her decision to open Germany’s borders to over a million migrants last year, leading to a backlash among the German people and the rise of the anti-mass immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The poll also found that fear of rising crime as a result of the migrant influx is also high, particularly among the country’s Jewish population, with 92 per cent of Jews saying they fear attacks.
Christians of all denominations also believe Germany will be less safe as a result of the migrant surge, with more than three in five saying they believe crime will rise.
In May, Germany’s Interior Minister published a report showing migrants contributing disproportionately to the country’s crime figures.
If migrants were not considered, crime rates in Germany would have remained roughly static over the previous year. In fact, the country saw an extra 402,741 crimes committed.
Many of these crimes were illegal border crossings, but authorities also recorded the 70 per cent of pickpocketings were by non-Germans, of which 34 per cent were by recent asylum seekers.
Despite, the figures, however, German politicians and establishment media focused on “politically-motivated crimes by the far-right”, with Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere telling a news conference: “We are witnessing a growing and increasingly pronounced readiness to use violence, both by right- and left-wing extremists.”