Years of lax immigration laws throughout all of Europe, set against the backdrop of an influx in migrants from Islamic countries, has led to one in eight Germans admitting that they would join an anti-Muslim march if growing protests lend themselves to the rise of such a situation.
The study, which was conducted and released last week on behalf of Forsa for Germany’s Stern magazine, reportedly polled 1,006 people, according to Reuters. It found that 13% of Germans would attend an anti-Muslim march nearby and that 29% of people believed that Islam was having such an influence on life in Germany that the marches were justified. Two-thirds of those polled reportedly believed the idea of an “Islamization” of Germany was exaggerated. Islam is the largest minority religion in Germany, only second to Protestant and Roman Catholic.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been an outspoken proponent of continued immigration from Islamic countries into Germany. She has faced growing opposition from groups such as the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) which have held weekly rallies and marches throughout Germany to spread the promotion and maintenance of western values. On December 8 and 22, PEGIDA reportedly held two rallies which drew in 10,000 and 17,000 consecutively in the city of Dresden.
On their website, PEGIDA outlines some of its group’s values and principles:
- “13. PEGIDA is FOR maintaining and protecting our Judeo-Christian Western culture.”
- “16. PEGIDA is AGAINST the establishment of parallel societies/parallel legal systems in our midst, such as Sharia Law, Sharia Police, and Sharia Courts, etc.”
- “18. PEGIDA is AGAINST religious radicalism, regardless of whether it is religiously or politically motivated.”
- “19. PEGIDA is AGAINST hate preachers, regardless of religious affiliation.”
Much of the reasoning behind Germany’s extremely liberal asylum rules are believed to be in response to the nation’s Nazi past. A great number of Muslims sought political refuge in Germany during the 1960s and 1970s. Germany’s asylum rules are among the most liberal in the world, Reuters notes. In 2014, the number of those seeking asylum in the country quadrupled to 200,000 since being calculated two years prior. Reuters points out that net immigration to Germany is the highest it has been in two decades.
Adelle Nazarian is on Twitter @AdelleNaz