Conducted by the newspaper Bild together with research institute INSA, the poll shows a dramatic change in the attitude of the German population to Islam over the past year.
According to this report, in January 2015, 37 percent of people said that Islam had a place in Germany, but the figure in this latest poll dropped by 15 percentage points to just 22 percent.
But the negative attitude towards Islam does not directly translate into mistrust toward those adhering the religion. Less than 30 percent said they would not like to live alongside Muslim people, while almost half said they were fine with it.
The suspicion towards Islam is overwhelming among the right-wing Alternative for Germany party (AfD) voters, 92 percent of whom supported their party’s stance. At the weekend, the AfD backed an election manifesto which slams Islam as incompatible with the country’s constitution and calls for a ban on Islamic symbols, claiming that there is “no place for Islam in Germany” in its political programme.
The AfD manifest reads:
An orthodox form of Islam that does not respect our laws or even resists them, and makes a claim to be the only valid religion does not correspond to our legal system and culture.
Among other things, the AfD wants to ban the construction of mosques and public wearing of the burqa. Sixty percent of the country’s citizens agree with the AfD, according to the poll.
Critics accuse AfD of playing the xenophobic card and preying on people’s fears. The Council of Muslims in Germany has compared the party’s ideas to Nazi ideology. Still, the AfD won elections in three regions recently.
Germany is among the European countries hit hardest by the ongoing refugee crisis. Last year, over one million asylum seekers arrived in the country from the Middle East.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government declared an open door policy towards refugees, but as problems and costs associated with the inflow of impoverished foreigners started to escalate, the EU sought help from Turkey to curb and reverse the influx. Brussels promised financial aid and political concessions to Ankara in exchange for halting the flow of refugees and agreeing to take back those whom the Europeans want to deport.