Muslims in Europe: Economic Worries Top Concerns About Religious and Cultural Identity

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

07/06/2006 - Muslims in Europe worry about their future, but their concern is more economic than religious or cultural. And while there are some signs of tension between Europe's majority populations and its Muslim minorities, Muslims there do not generally believe that most Europeans are hostile toward people of their faith. Still, over a third of Muslims in France and one-in-four in Spain say they have had a bad experience as a result of their religion or ethnicity. However, there is little evidence of a widespread backlash against Muslim immigrants among the general publics in Great Britain, France, Germany, and Spain. Majorities continue to express concerns about rising Islamic identity and extremism, but those worries have not intensified in most of the countries surveyed over the past 12 months; a turbulent period that included the London subway bombings, the French riots, and the Danish cartoon controversy.

Opinions held by Muslims in Europe - as well as opinions about Muslims among Europe's majority populations - vary significantly by country. No clear European point of view emerges with regard to the Muslim experience, either among Muslims or in the majority populations on many issues.

Most notably, France shows no signs of a backlash in response to last year's riots. In fact, a counter trend seems to have emerged with slightly more French people saying that immigration from the Middle East and North Africa is a good thing than did so a year ago. The French public is also more inclined this year to say that Muslims living in France want to adopt French customs - a view held by an overwhelming majority of Muslims in France. Nor do German and British publics express any increase in negative views of immigrants - although, unlike the French, they are not more positive toward immigrants this year. Meanwhile, the Spanish public's view toward immigrants has grown slightly more negative over the last year.

Read the full report Muslims in Europe: Economic Worries Top Concerns About Religious and Cultural Identity on the Pew Research Center Web site.

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