Half of Austrians fear Islam

The main Mosque of Austria's capital city, Vienna.
The main Mosque of Austria’s capital city, Vienna.

A recently published survey carried out by Austrian newspaper Der Standard has revealed that 51% of respondents view Islam in Austria as a ‘threat’.

The left-leaning newspaper surveyed more than 400 Austrians in late December, before recent terrorist attacks in Paris left 12 dead.

According to the results 51% view Islam as a threat to Austrian society, while only 34% view it as no threat at all. The survey also revealed that 50% feel that Islam is actively trying to change their society, while only 25% did not feel this way.

Although the survey also revealed that Austrians generally view Muslims in their country as separate from extremist forces such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda many respondents appeared to show discomfort around Muslims.

One of the reasons given for this discomfort may stem from a lack of understanding. Almost three quarters of all participants agreed that most of Austria does not fully understand Islam, with only one-in-ten claiming that they did.

News of the survey reflects a growing change across Europe in attitudes towards Muslims. Anti-Islamic sentiment has increased in Europe in recent months thanks in part to the rise of many far-right groups. Many believe that the recent attacks in Paris have helped fuel suspicion and fear of Muslims across Europe.

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