German Evangelical Church conducts survey, ponders stance on Islam

German Evangelical Church conducts survey, ponders stance on Islam

German Evangelical Church conducts survey, ponders stance on Islam

The Social Science Institute of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has published a new study titled “Islam and Muslims in Germany: The population’s view”. Just over 2000 respondents were questioned on the phone with respect to their perception of Islam’s place in German society. The study’s results can be accessed here.

Although it is not stated explicitly, throughout the presentation of the findings the reader is led to assume that only Protestant, Catholic, and unaffiliated respondents were contacted to participate in the survey. “The population’s view [Die Sicht der Bevölkerung]” that the study promises to capture is thus the view held by Christian and atheist Germans only – a discursive framing that, in a single stroke, excludes Muslims and other religious groups from the German collective.

The EKD’s survey follows in the footsteps of a plethora of quantitative research. Compared to these already existing studies, the Church’s survey has few dramatically novel insights to offer. Instead, a familiar picture of antipathy towards Islam emerges: only 33 per cent of respondents agree that “Islam fits with German society” (54 per cent reject this claim). ‘Islam’ and ‘German society’ are construed as irreconcilable opposites.

Conversely, 69 per cent (as opposed to 24 per cent) assert that “Muslims are part of everyday life in Germany”. Respondents thus repeat a contorted argumentative figure frequently made by German politicians: they assert that Islam is not part of the German nation; yet they shy away from openly denying Muslim individuals the right to belong. (How a Muslim could be German while their faith is stylized as radically un-German remains unclear, however.)

The survey report concludes that ‘the population’ has a negative view of Islam but a positive perception of Muslims. This conclusion is not fully warranted, however. For the assertion that “Muslims are part of everyday life” is merely a statement of fact: there are, after all, roughly 4.5 million Muslims living in Germany. The recognition of this fact does surely not betray a positive view of this social group. And indeed, 54 per cent of respondents “have the impression that there are many religious fanatics among Muslims in Germany” (32 per cent disagree); and 45 per cent are opposed to the idea of having a Muslim mayor in their town (43 per cent would accept a Muslim representative) …

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