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Nearly 1000 Anti-Muslim Incidents in Germany 2017, 546 In Spain

As the Muslim population in Europe grows, how well are immigrants adapting to their new land and how strong is the anti-Muslim sentiment across Europe?

Two new reports came out recently that documented anti-Muslim crimes in Germany and Spain. In Germany, government officials only began tracking anti-Muslim crimes in 2017, so it’s not possible to compare data and determine trends.

Government records showed, as reported by Deutsche Welle, that Germany saw 950 attacks on Muslims in 2017. Of those attacks, there were at least 60 attacks targeting mosques and other Muslim organizations. The data also reported around 90 demonstrations against the “Islamization” of Germany. The last quarter of Germany did show a tapering off of anti-Muslim incidents.

Anti-Muslim incidents in Spain.

The Spanish group Citizen Platform Against Islamophobia (PCI) released it’s fourth report last Friday which documented anti-Muslim crimes in Spain. They reported that 546 anti-Muslim incidents were recorded in 2017. The incidents recorded included attacks on children, women, and some mosques.

According to the report of the 546 incidents, 160 occurred “on the street” and 375 occurred on the internet. The data reflected a downward trend in street incidents but a rising trend in “cyber hate.”

The PCI report said Muslim women were the most frequent target of the anti-Muslim attacks in Spain. Twenty-one percent of the incidents targeted women, followed by men (8 percent) and children (4 percent).

Interestingly, more than half of the anti-Muslim street incidents in Spain occurred in the Catalonia region.

Germany has a growing Muslim population.

From 2010 to 2016, the number of Muslims living in Germany increased to nearly 5 million from 3.6 million, according to the Pew Research Center. The total German population dropped slightly from 77.1 million to 76.5 million. But the German Muslim population will likely continue to rise even if there is no more immigration. This is because, according to the Pew Research Center data, on average Muslims are younger and have more children than Germans as a whole.

The Pew report found that Germany accepted around 670,00 refugees, from mid-2010 to mid-2016, and about 86 percent of them were Muslims. There were 680,000 regular immigrants (non-refugees) from non-EU nations arriving in Germany and 40 percent of those were Muslims.

Muslims are integrating into European countries.

Counter to Islamophobic notions and the anti-Muslim stereotypes that persist around the world, Muslims are integrating well and at high rates with their communities throughout Europe.

The private foundation, Bertelsmann Stiftung conducted a report entitled “Results and Country Profiles: Muslims In Europe“. The report conducted a survey of 10,000 people living in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the United Kingdom and Turkey at the end of 2016. The report aimed to assess how well Muslims were adapting to their new homes by looking at employment rates, language usage, education attainment, overall happiness and more.

Regarding language, the Bertelsmann Stiftung report found that around three-quarters of Muslims born in Germany said that German is their first language. Other European countries also showed high rates of Muslims adopting and speaking their new countries’ native language.

In France, the European country with the highest share of Muslims as percentage of total population, only 11 percent of Muslims born in France left school before age 17. The report also found 74 percent of the Muslims in France learned French as their first language.

Muslim immigrants also overwhelmingly reported feeling “close connections with the country where they live” according to the Bertelsmann Stiftung report. In France, 95 percent of Muslims reported feeling very or somewhat connected with the country. The other countries measured reported similar statistics, with the lowest percent reported coming in around 88 percent.

Is the Muslim terrorist stereotype and anti-Muslim sentiment based on reality?

Much of the anti-Muslim crime stems from a stereotypical perception of Muslims as terrorists or violence prone. But is that stereotype backed up by data? Data collected on terrorist attacks in the U.S. and Europe suggest the stereotypes are wrong.

FBI data revealed that 94 percent of terrorist attacks in the U.S. between 1980 and 2005 were carried out by non-Muslims. Data from Europol, as reported by Columanbird, reported that there were 746 terrorist attacks in Europe from 2011 to 2014. Only one percent of those attacks were religiously-inspired and of those attacks, not all the perpetrators were Muslims.

In earlier years Europol recorded data differently, but still data showed that from 2006 to 2010 the EU saw 2,131 terrorist attacks and only eight were “Islam-based”. Thus, making Muslim terrorists responsible for 0.3 percent of the attacks during the period.

Immigration remains a contentious topic.

Immigration will remain a concern worldwide as long as war, drought, famine and the like force people to flee their home countries for a better life. But contrary to stereotypes, the data suggests immigrants are fitting into their new countries well. Yet immigration remains a dividing issue in elections worldwide. So why is it that the immigration issue remains an inflammatory topic?


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Yasmeen Rasidi

Yasmeen is a writer and political science graduate of the National University, Jakarta. She covers a variety of topics for Citizen Truth including the Asia and Pacific region, international conflicts and press freedom issues. Yasmeen had worked for Xinhua Indonesia and GeoStrategist previously. She writes from Jakarta, Indonesia.

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