More than 55 percent of Europeans say that immigration from Muslim-majority countries should be stopped, a poll from a London-based think tank says.
The poll, carried out by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, also known as Chatham House, a group which analyzes major international issues and current affairs, was released on Tuesday.
More than 10,000 people from 10 European states took part in the survey. The respondents were given the following statement: “All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped.”
“Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55 percent agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25 percent neither agreed nor disagreed and 20 percent disagreed,” the think tank said, adding that in no country “did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32 percent.”
The group says that the research “points to significant and widespread levels of public anxiety over immigration from mainly Muslim states.”
The countries most opposed to further immigration were Austria, Poland, Hungary, France, Belgium, Germany, and Greece, “despite these countries having very different sized resident Muslim populations,” they said.
“With the exception of Poland, these countries have either been at the centre of the refugee crisis or experienced terrorist attacks in recent years.”
According to the poll, the opposition to Muslim immigration is “especially intense among retired, older age cohorts while those aged below 30 are notably less opposed.”
Also, those with less education display more negative attitudes towards Muslims: “Of those with secondary level qualifications, 59 percent opposed further Muslim immigration. By contrast, less than half of all degree holders (48 percent) supported further migration curbs.”
The authors of the survey said that the poll was carried out prior to the implementation of US President Donald Trump’s controversial ‘Muslim ban.’
“Our results are striking and sobering. They suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.”
This is not the first poll which indicates that EU citizens tend to have negative attitudes towards Muslims. In July 2015, a survey from the Pew Research Centre, an American think tank, revealed that many Europeans rate Muslims “unfavourably.” The highest opposition towards Muslims was recorded in Hungary (72 percent), Italy (69 percent) and Poland (66 percent).