BERLIN (AA) – The number of Germans with negative attitudes towards Muslims has hit its highest mark yet, according to results of a recent study by Leipzig University released in Berlin on Wednesday.
Some 50 percent of those surveyed said that they “sometimes feel like a foreigner in their own country due to so many Muslims living here,” while nearly 41 percent advocated a ban on Muslim migration.
The representative study revealed a significant increase in negative attitudes towards Muslims and refugees in Germany, as the country is trying to cope with the biggest refugee influx since World War II.
Europe's largest economy accepted more than one million refugees last year; most of these were Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.
Wednesday's research results showed that the refugee crisis has further increased worries over migration.
The amount of Germans who complained about the number of Muslim migrants living in their country rose to 50 percent this year compared to 32.2 percent in 2009.
Those who advocated a ban against migration by Muslims into Germany increased from 36.6 percent to 41.4 in a year. Those who favored such a ban were 21.4 percent in 2009.
The survey also revealed deep prejudices against asylum seekers in German society. Almost 60 percent expressed doubt whether most refugees needed international protection, claiming that many were not really fleeing persecution in their home countries.
Just over 80 percent of Germans surveyed argued that the state should not be generous when examining applications made by asylum seekers.
The country has witnessed growing anti-refugee and anti-Muslim sentiment in recent years, triggered by the propaganda by far-right and populist parties, which have exploited the refugee crisis and fears of religious extremist and terrorist groups.
German far-right movements like Pegida and Alternative for Germany (AfD) have been calling for measures to curb migration and restrict the rights of Muslims, for what they perceive as a potential “threat of the Islamization of Germany”.
Germany has a total population of 81.1 million; around five percent are Muslims. Among the nearly four million Muslim residents in the country, three million are of Turkish origin. Many of these people migrated to Germany in the 1960s.