Friday, September 19, 2008

Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia on the Rise in Europe

By Jim Lobe

"WASHINGTON, Sep 18 (IPS) - Both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia have risen in Europe over the last four years, according to a survey conducted earlier this year and released here Thursday by the Pew Research Centre.

While attitudes towards Muslims are substantially more negative than those against Jews across Europe, anti-Jewish sentiment as grown steadily in five of the six countries surveyed on the question, according to the Pew Global Attitudes Project (PGAP) survey that was conducted last spring.

The increase in anti-Jewish feeling was particularly pronounced in Spain. In 2005, 21 percent of respondents there said they had unfavourable opinions of Jews. That percentage rose to 46 percent in 2008, just below the 52 percent of Spaniards who said they held negative views of Muslims.

"Ethnocentric attitudes are on the rise in Europe," according to an analysis that accompanied the survey. ''Growing numbers of people in several major European countries say they have an unfavourable opinion of Jews, and opinions of Muslims, which were already substantially more negative, have also grown increasingly so compared with several years ago."

The survey found that both anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish opinion in Western Europe were most prevalent among older people, those with less education, and those who identified their political views with the right....."

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