Europe News

Europe’s fear of Muslim immigration revealed in widespread survey

Many in Europe oppose Muslim immigration
Many in Europe oppose Muslim immigration

A survey of more than 10,000 people from 10 different European countries has revealed high public opposition to Muslim immigration.

The Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs carried out the survey, asking online respondents their views on the statement that "all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped".

Over the 10 European countries surveyed, an average of 55 percent agreed with the statement. 25 percent neither agreed nor disagreed, while only one in five respondents felt Muslim immigration should continue.

Poland was the country most in favor of a ban on Muslim immigration with 71 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement. Austria was close behind with 65 percent.

This survey was carried out before U.S. President Trump's executive order to ban temporarily citizens of seven Muslim-majority states and freeze refugee arrivals.

Breaking the numbers down further, the survey found little correlation with the number of Muslim people already settled in a country.

"Public opposition to further migration from Muslim states is especially intense in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France, and Belgium, despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations," read the report.

The survey also highlighted the potential effect of domestic politics on those countries liable to reject immigration.

"In most of these states, the radical right is, to varying degrees, entrenched as a political force and is looking to mobilize this angst over Islam into the ballot box, either at elections in 2017 or longer term."

Chatham House found only two countries; Spain and the United Kingdom that had a majority of respondents prepared to welcome more Muslims.

Chatham House also found that age played a major factor in the view of those surveyed with anti-Muslim immigration sentiment particularly high among retirees.

Education also played a part. School-leavers were 59 percent in favor of curbing immigrants, while less than half of university graduates agreed with the statement.

An Ipsos Mori Poll in 2016, found that Europeans tend to massively overestimate the number of Muslims living in their country.

The survey found the French public perceived there to be more than four times the actual number while, in the U.K., respondents guessed the number of Muslims in Britain to be three times greater than the actual figure.