A study by the University of Leipzig has revealed growing suspicion and hatred towards Muslims, migrants and asylum seekers in Germany. Around 36 percent of respondents said they consider Germany to be dangerously swamped by foreigners, the study found. More than a quarter of them said they believe foreigners should be send back to their home countries if there were a shortage of jobs in Germany.
The research has also revealed that almost 55 percent of Germans claimed they felt like foreigners in their own country because of the large numbers of Muslims. In 2010, before the refugee crisis, 33 percent of the respondents shared this view.
Professor Elmar Braehler, who conducted the research together with Dr. Oliver Decker, said xenophobia and prejudices against Muslims were fueling the surge of far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD). "People with far-right views are now turning away from the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party […] and finding a new home in the AfD," he said, as reported by Anadolu Agency (AA).
Adopting an explicitly anti-Islamic rhetoric, the AfD argued that the country was under the threat of "Islamization," especially after nearly one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq, arrived in the country since 2015.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
In recent years, the country has seen growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism. Germany was hit by a wave of violent protests by the far right in the German city of Chemnitz in August. Nine people were injured Saturday on the sidelines of opposing demonstrations by the far right and the left in the German city of Chemnitz, which was hit by anti-migrant protests. Chemnitz has been in the spotlight after violent xenophobic protests erupted over the fatal stabbing of a German man, allegedly by a Syrian and an Iraqi. The tension in the air reflects the polarization over Germany's ongoing effort to come to terms with an influx of more than 1 million refugees and migrants seeking jobs since 2015.