According to a representative survey, conducted in 2012 by the Allensbach Institute for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the majority of the questioned people associate Islam with a propensity for violence, fanaticism and intolerance.
Although the real life situation of Muslim women does not correspond with the image of the “oppressed woman”, 83 per cent of respondents view Islam as misogynist and feel that it is characterized by discrimination against women.
In contrast to the negative prejudices towards Islam, only 13 per cent relate Islam to the grace of charity. Only 12 per cent relate Islam to charity and 7 per cent to openness and tolerance.
The study describes the attitudes of Germans as still dominated by the Huntington assumption of “clash of civilizations”. In 2010, only 36 per cent of Germans believed in a peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims. However, only 19 per cent of the interviewees perceive Islam in itself as threatening. Although 48 per cent Germans are pessimistic about the relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, while only 39 per cent would agree with a minaret ban.
Interestingly, there is no positive correlation between tolerance and inter-cultural contacts. Despite a higher number of Muslim immigrants in West Germany, 48 per cent of West German interviewees feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. 45 per cent of the East German population feel discomfort in the presence of headscarf-wearing women. Only 22 per cent of the interviewees see Islam as an integral part of Germany and only 29 per cent perceive Muslims as part of the country.
Hence Islam as the “other” is deep-seated in the mindset of the German population.