Germans Have Mixed Feelings About the Refugee Crisis & Islam
New data from Pew Research shows that Germans have conflicting feelings towards the stream of Islamic refugees entering their country. Furthermore, most Germans make a stark mental divide between “genuine refugees” and “economic migrants”—the former are generally welcome, the latter are the subject of significant animus.
Regarding German attitudes towards actual refugees from Syria and Iraq, Pew writes:
In general, Germans express positive views of refugees, with most saying they make Germany stronger because of their hard work and talents (59%), rather than being a burden by taking jobs and social benefits (31%).
This generally favorable view of refugees is contrasted by the German people’s skepticism regarding economic migrants and other illegal immigrants. Some 70 percent of Germans are in favor of deporting economic migrants—particularly those who originate not in the Levant:
A new study from the research institute Civey shows that 69.8% of Germans believe that those people illegally crossing the Mediterranean are migrants, not refugees, and should therefore be deported. . . The opinions of Germans varied by region and demographic. People aged 65 and older were the most likely to favor deportations for North African migrants (74.6%). Likewise, East Germans were more likely that their Western counterparts to favor deportations.
Although the distinction between refugees and migrants may not work in practical terms (it is often impossible to tell which is which until it’s too late), it is nevertheless important to the German mindset, and the way they view the Refugee Crisis politically.
Germany’s Conflicting Opinions on Islam & Muslims
Tying into this discussion is how native Germans view Islam—again, the polling data is self-contradictory.
Pew reports that:
Most Germans . . . see Muslims in their country in a positive light: Roughly two-thirds say they have a “very favorable” (10%) or “mostly favorable” (55%) view of Muslims, compared with about three-in-ten who express a mostly (23%) or very (6%) unfavorable opinion. At the same time, there is widespread uncertainty about integration. A majority of Germans (61%) believe most Muslims in Germany “want to be distinct from the larger German society,” rather than adopting “Germany’s customs and way of life.”
Beyond that, the vast majority of Germans (77 percent) believe that Islamic migrants/refugees from Syria and Iraq pose either a minor or major threat to Germany. Only 22 percent of Germans do not see Muslims as a threat.
3. Most Germans have a positive view of Islamic refugees (59 percent) and would accept more.
Why would a people who view something as threatening still view it favorably, and want more of it? This is a question of psychologists to answer, but these findings should give everyone cause to reflect on their own beliefs—are they dissonant, or do they make logical sense?