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Most Europeans want Muslim immigration banned

A poll has revealed that a majority of Europeans want a ban on immigration from Muslim-majority countries, despite being told by their current leaders that they should welcome "refugees".

Published: February 8, 2017, 12:27 pm

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    “New research points to significant and widespread levels of public anxiety”, a groundbreaking survey indicated. The Chatham House Royal Institute of International Affairs asked online respondents their views on the statement that “all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped”.

    Only 20 percent disagreed, while 25 per cent did not have an opinion on the matter.

    The Chatham House survey was conducted before US President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigration from the seven Muslim countries that had been listed by Barack Obama.

    On average, 55 per cent of people polled in 10 European countries, wanted to stop all future immigration from countries with Muslim majorities. The ban was supported by 71 percent of people in Poland, 65 percent in Austria, 53 percent in Germany and 51 percent in Italy. Some 72 percent of Hungarians had a negative view of Muslims.

    The potential effect of Muslim immigration on domestic politics on those countries liable to reject immigration, was also highlighted.

    “In most of these states, the radical right is, to varying degrees, entrenched as a political force and is looking to mobilize this angst over Islam into the ballot box, either at elections in 2017 or longer term.”

    In all but two of the ten states a majority of those polled opposed immigration from mainly Muslim countries. Chatham House found only Spain and the United Kingdom that had a majority of respondents prepared to welcome more Muslims. In the UK, only 47 percent supported a ban.

    In no country more than a third disagreed with a ban. In the UK, where London boasts a Muslim mayor, 28 percent said they had an unfavourable view of Muslims, while in Germany and France 29 percent held a negative view of Muslims.

    Of those surveyed, older people voiced their concern over Muslim immigration more than those under 30, who were less opposed.

    An Ipsos Mori Poll in 2016, found that Europeans hugely overestimate the number of Muslims residing in their countries. The French public perceived there to be more than four times the actual number and in Britain a perception reigns of a number three times greater than the actual figure.

    But interestingly, the survey found little correlation with the number of Muslims already settled in a country.

    “Public opposition to further migration from Muslim states is especially intense in Austria, Poland, Hungary, France, and Belgium, despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations,” according to the report.

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