Why Germans distrust Islam
Prejudice and the fear of too many foreigners is especially prevalent in Germany. With the growing number of Muslims, distrust of Islam is rising. Why are Germans afraid of the "foreign"?
The cashier at the supermarket wears a headscarf, copies of the Koran are handed out on the streets, and mosques have become part of some cities' landscapes. Islam appears to be encroaching on life in Germany and that bothers a lot of people.
"For decades, woman fought for equal rights, and we have attained something. And now, women are choosing to wear headscarves. I don't want that and it scares me," a unversity-educated woman from Cologne says.
Her attitude is not uncommon. In the long debate over the new Cologne Central Mosque, which will be one of Europe's largest, fear and distrust of Islam have come to light and are widespread.
Islamism a "real threat"
Christian Democrat (CDU) politician Wolfgang Bosbach sees no general fear of Islam within the society, however, but rather a justifiable fear of Islamists who are ready to commit acts of violence. An estimated 40,000 Islamists live in Germany. A small, but significant, number of them are prone to violence.
"Those [who are ready to be violent] out of religious motivation, out of religious extremism, are a real threat to security in Germany," Bosbach said.
CDU politician Wolfgang Bosbach says Germans are concerned about violence
Eight foiled and failed terrorist attacks have made it clear that the threat is real in Germany, Bosbach says. Security agents say these people represent a very small group of people - less than one percent of Muslims are Islamists. But they shape the obviously negative image of Islam and Muslims, which leads to widespread prejudice and fear that can lead to Islamophobia.
Fear of foreigners widespread
Over a period of ten years, the University of Bielefeld carried out a survey, which dealt with different