Europe: Surge in Islamophobia higher where few are Muslims

Placards at a rally in Germany last year said "No to hatred against Muslims". A study shows the number of attacks against Muslims has fallen there but there is "Islamophobia without Muslims" in Eastern Europe.
Placards at a rally in Germany last year said "No to hatred against Muslims". A study shows the number of attacks against Muslims has fallen there but there is "Islamophobia without Muslims" in Eastern Europe.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The overall level of Islamophobia in Europe remains high, though it varies across the region. While in parts of Western Europe attacks against Muslims have stopped rising, in Eastern Europe anti-Islamic sentiment is surging despite its minimal Muslim population.

In Germany, the number of attacks against Muslims declined significantly from more than 500 in the first six months of 2017 to 320 in the first six months of last year. But in Eastern Europe, a study published in January by researchers of the University of Leipzig, Germany, notes an "Islamophobia without Muslims".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 24, 2019, with the headline 'Europe: Surge in Islamophobia higher where few are Muslims'. Subscribe