By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA)- Prejudice against Muslims, migrants and asylum seekers have significantly increased in Germany, according to a new study by the Leipzig University.
Almost 55 percent of Germans claimed they felt like foreigners in their own country because of large numbers of Muslims. In 2010, before the refugee crisis, 33 percent of the respondents shared this view.
The research has also revealed that xenophobia was becoming increasingly widespread throughout Germany.
Around 36 percent of respondents said they consider Germany to be dangerously swamped by foreigners.
More than a quarter of them said they believe foreigners should be send back to their home countries if there were a shortage of jobs in Germany.
Professor Elmar Braehler, who conducted the research together with Dr. Oliver Decker said, xenophobia and prejudices against Muslims were fueling the surge of far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
“People with far-right views are now turning away from the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Party[…] and finding a new home in the AfD,” he said.
Adopting an explicitly anti-Islamic rhetoric, the AfD argued that the country was under the threat of “Islamization”, especially after nearly one million refugees — mostly from Syria and Iraq — arrived in the country since 2015.
Germany, a country of over 81 million people, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
In recent years, the country has seen growing Islamophobia and hatred of migrants triggered by propaganda from far-right and populist parties, which have exploited fears over the refugee crisis and terrorism.