Studies portray Muslims in German media

May 3

 

The Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) has published a study appraising the views of more than 9,200 people in the summer of 2011. According to the study, 74 per cent of interviewees with a migrant background and almost 71 per cent of interviewees without a migrant background described the portrayal of Muslims in the German media as either “negative” or “much too negative”. More than 82 per cent of the Muslims polled share this view.

 

The survey outlines that although the integration of second generation Muslims in Germany has been successful, the political and media would narrow the debate to “failed integration of Muslims”. In the past, German public focused at the ethnic background of immigrants debating about the “failed integration of foreigners”. The policy brief describes the negative connection of Islam with terrorism and extremism.

 

Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council for Muslims in Germany (ZMD), pointed out the increasing number of news linked to Islam. With regard to the lack of differentiation Mazyek says: “The prejudiced view that immediately associates extremism with Islam – and therefore also with Muslims – is still far too prevalent in the German media”.

 

Margreth Lünenborg, professor of journalism and director of the International Journalists’ College at Berlin’s Free University (FU), expressed her concern about the increasingly stereotyped portrayal of Muslims in the German media.

 

The Bertelsmann Foundation has published a study monitoring the attitudes of Germans towards religions. The international study involved thirteen countries including Germany: totally, 14,000 people have been interviewed about their attitudes towards Islam and other religions. More than half of the interviewees in Germany do not see Islam as an integral part of Germany. However, 85 per cent of the interviewees claim to be tolerant and open minded towards all religions. Albeit 60 per cent perceive religious plurality as enrichment, 64 per cent of the interviewed describe religion as the source of conflict.

 

The study investigated also perceptions about politics and showed that there is a high acceptance for democracy: 79 per cent of the Muslim interviewees and 88 per cent of the Christian interviewees agree strongly with the democratic political system of Germany.

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German Islam Conference not well known among Muslims

Despite the hype in German newspapers, the Islam conference is not very well known among the country’s Muslims. 43 per cent of Muslims in Germany have never heard of it before. The Expert Advisory Board for Integration and Migration (SVR) conducted a survey among more than 5,500 participants on integration politics, which proved to be less well known among immigrants than among ethnic Germans. The percentage of those who have not heard about the Islam Conference is even higher among Muslims born in Germany than among those who immigrated. The non-migratory population generally knew most about various types of integration politics.

Ethnic Germans and immigrants on better terms than expected

Germany often comes under attack for its allegedly poor integration of immigrants and the existence of so-called parallel societies. But a study released this week by a new think tank refutes the country’s bad reputation — at least partially.

It is no cause for wild celebration — but nor is there much reason to complain. According to Klaus Bade, a leading German researcher on immigration, the co-existence of ethnic Germans and immigrants is often unjustly portrayed in a negative light. But a study released this week in Berlin by the immigration think tank that Bade chairs, refutes some of these criticisms. On Wednesday, the Expert Advisory Board for Integration and Migration (SVR), which was founded in 2008 by eight major foundations involved in social and political advocacy and research, released its first annual report.

The report contains what the board calls the Integration Climate Index (IKI) which basically measures successful relations between ethnic Germans and immigrants. The forecast, according to the SVR? Sunny and warm. “Despite some problematic areas, integration in Germany is a social and political success,” Bade said at the launch of the report. “Compared to other nations, things are actually a lot better here than they are reputed to be inside the country.”