Prejudice against Muslims, Jews on the rise in Europe – Pew study

September 18, 2008

Swastikas on Muslim gravestones in northern France, 6 April 2008/stringerAnti-Muslim and anti-Jewish feelings are rising in several major European countries, according to a survey by the Washington- based Pew Research Center’s Global Attitude Survey. Mike Conlon in our Chicago bureau has summed up the report here.

Apart from the figures themselves, what struck me most was the way the study says the trends are moving. Pew said the upswing in anti-Muslim feelings came mostly between 2004 and 2006, with some falls since then, while the upswing of feelings against Jews has come mostly between 2006 and 2008. Is this matched by facts on the ground, such as attacks on religious people and sites or increasingly discriminatory acts or agitation against religious minorities? Or is this a change in mood that need surveys like this to be perceived?

The news media tend to focus on actual examples of such prejudices, such as the recent anti-mosque campaign in Italy or suspected anti-Semitic attack on a young Paris Jew, since these are news events that reflect prejudices. This is admittedly an imperfect measure (which, by the way, is one reason why we also report surveys like this). We don’t claim to be able to cover such events so thoroughly that we could track trends like Pew does. Even with that proviso, I’m not sure I would have said that Europe saw a surge of anti-Muslim feeling between 2004 and 2006 and a surge of anti-Jewish feeling since then. The evidence from actual events is difficult to read.

March against anti-Semitism in Paris, 26 Feb 2006/Regis DuvignauA certain level of prejudice and violence against both groups is always present. But events seem to point towards upswings in anti-Muslim feeling more right after 9/11 and then in recent years with the growing anti-mosque movement and the Prophet Mohammad cartoons controversy. As for anti-Jewish feeling across Europe, the upswing in actual anti-Semitic acts and rhetoric seemed stronger at the start of the second Intifada early in this decade. Maybe the fact that this poll series began in the summer of 2002 skews the data.

Do you see upswings in anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim feelings going the way Pew sketches them, or differently?


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The original article has a clear bias against Muslims, nor does it reflect only the countries of Europe. While the several references of countries that favored Jews were listed; the only listings of Muslims were listed on the unfavorability of Muslims. This is actually ‘robbing the victimization’ off the backs of Muslims (not that Muslims want that title).

This is similar to the reporting on the black struggle and how in research, there is much comparison to the Jewish community. This is not to say that Jews have not struggled in the past. However, the strategy is to try and rest upon the sufferings of others, and eventually show how they were part of the struggle (veering away from any oppressive role, of course). This usually sets the stage for some sort of reparation for their part of the struggle while ignoring the overwhelming majority, when many times their struggle was more severe.

While mentioning several Muslim countries, there was still the negative reporting of Muslims or Islam, and absolutely nothing mentioned positive of Muslims. Of all the Islamic countries in the world, there was nothing positive to report about Muslims? It goes on to mention the association of Arab countries and the negative attitude toward Jews. It seems convenient to have left out Israel’s position.

This writing of the hodge-podge statistics attempts to steal any thunder that Muslims have in reporting the increasingly obvious violation of their human rights, and conveniently including their Jewish brethren.

It’s interesting to note that this poll did not include other religions and how they would compare to what people say. Is it safe to assume that there is no anti-Christian, anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist, etc. bias? This poll had a psychological agenda from the onset. Since the numbers are already present. It might be useful to attempt to associate the ‘why’ with these numbers. Something tells me that the answers very different from the similarities attempted to be portrayed in this article.

Posted by 5PillarScribe | Report as abusive

I simply wanna comment whoever do this sort of things don’t deserve to be called CHRISTIANS, if christians are involved.

As far as other faiths, are concerned, no comments. They have got their own teachings.

Posted by Bobby Victor Thomas | Report as abusive

This kind of abomination is NOTHING to do with Christ – he said ‘HONOUR’ the jews. If he were here today, in person, he would be castigating these racist, hateful people for persecuting and victimising people (Jews, Muslims, etc.) whom they refuse to allow to live in peace.

Hate and venom,violence and aggression towards differenet people is a form of xenophobia on a poisonous scale.

The neo-Nazi groups, for example, are nothing more than immoral, puerile morons who represent the very lowest form of human intellect, amply affected by a strange kind of phobia-cum-mental defect that renders them incapable of social tolerance, let alone social responsibility.

The lessons of WW2 and the abominal gassing of Jews, Muslims, Gays and other minority groups, etc., are indelibly etched into the psyche and the human rights laws that have been enshrined within European and other areas of the world, will never be erased by a bunch of cowardly, idiotic bull boys.

They had better get real and STOP their appalling behaviour. They will not prevail!

Posted by TheTruthIs… | Report as abusive

Incidents like the ones mentioned above come from the increasing amount of cultural diversity around the world, especially in America. Instead of making the best of the fact that we can now see people in the street from several different countries and backgrounds, many choose to reject those who are different from themselves. They block out what they do not know or understand. This very thing leads to prejudice and discrimination. It is understandable, when one who has never met or seen a Muslim or Jew, to rely on stereotypes learned over the years in order to interpret and analyze what is going on. Those who are prejudice against people who have a different ethnic, racial, or religious background, do not know better because they have never gotten the chance, or made the effort, to get to know people of other cultures. This only drills their beliefs of stereotypes even further into their heads. After 9/11, Muslims were, and still are, stereotyped as being terrorists. Because just a handful of Muslims, out of the 1.5 billion Muslims worlwide, decided to commit acts of terrorism, the rest of the Muslims are now branded with that name as well. If those who believe this stereotype were to ever have a serious and intelligent conversation with a Muslim, they would find out otherwise. This supports the idea that we need to open ourselves to learn and get to know people who are of a different race or religion from us. Being close minded can only lead to prejudice, discrimination, and hare. We have this happen too many times through out history. Slavery in America, the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, the Armenian genocide, and the fighting currently going on in Sudan are just a few examples of what happens when we breed hate against others instead of learning about them. We need to take the time and effort to go against stereotypes and approach those who are different and get to know them. Not only does learning about other cultures and religions open our minds, it improves one as a person and opens us to learn why one person acts or does they things they do. For example, I used to see many girls and boys at my school who had extremely long hair wrapped in turbans and I did not know why. After asking some of those people and getting to know them, I learned it was because they were Sikhs and it was against their religion to cut their hair. Although this example does not involve hate or prejudice, it shows that learning about how others live and what they believe will lead us to becoming more open minded and having a peaceful and culturally diverse nation.

Posted by amal a | Report as abusive

I have a lot of muslim friends and i know some since early childhood. They are all normal people like you and me, religion played no big role in their lives. Since a couple of years I sense a growing frustration and anger in them. Anger of being wrongly branded as “terrorists”, anger at being called “followers of a evil religion”. One of them told me he no longer feels like he belongs here (Germany). He used to dream of his own business and having his kids grow up here, now he isn’t so sure at all. He said that some of our other muslim friends also felt more or less the same. I am really troubled by this. I mean it’s not right whats happening and the bad thing is that all this hate is being spread by our media and even encouraged by some politicians.

Posted by We need no hate | Report as abusive