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.