At least a quarter of Europeans have negative feelings toward Muslims, almost a third have hostile views towards immigrants generally and more than a third have negative views of Roma people according to a new poll, commissioned as part of a major new report ‘STATE OF HATE: Far-right extremism in Europe’.
The survey of 12,000 people across eight major European countries (Sweden, France, Germany, UK, Hungary, Poland and Italy) revealed a worryingly large number hold hostile views towards minority groups.
The country with the lowest negative feeling to immigrants and Muslims was the UK (30% and 26% respectively) but in Hungary negative feelings extended to a majority of the population (60% had a very or quite negative view of immigrants and 54% had a very or quite negative view of Muslims).
Immigration was one of the top four concerns for people in France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden.
The report also found a deep well of mistrust in authorities that could prove an exploitable conspiracy opportunity for populists and radicals in many countries.
Political disenchantment is particularly pronounced in Italy and France, with 79% and 67% respectively feeling that the system is broken wholly or partially, and 63% in Poland, 58% of the UK and 55% in Hungary.
74% of Italians, 63% of Poles, 59% of French, 52% of British and 50% of Swedes feel that their country is going in the wrong direction in some way.
There is a worrying minority who believe in a form of the far-right idea of ‘the Great Replacement’. Between 16% (UK) – 45% (Hungary) believe that elites are encouraging immigration as part of a plot to weaken Europe.
The poll also uncovered unexpected patterns of opinions towards feminism.
A significant 41% of Swedes think that feminism is definitely or somewhat responsible for the feeling of marginalization and demonization experienced by some men in society, followed by Poland (30%), the UK (28%) and France (25%) – but the lowest agreement with this sentiment was in Italy (15%).
When asked if they had sympathy with the Black Lives Matter protests in highlighting racism and discrimination experienced by minority communities, a majority in Germany (52%), Sweden (51%) and the UK (51%) said they did.
Whilst more people in France, the Netherlands, Poland and Italy sympathised with the BLM protests than did not, none went above 50%.
Nick Lowles, CEO, HOPE not hate:
“As the coronavirus pandemic has swept across Europe, we have seen some radical and far-right groups prosper and some flounder. At a European level it’s clear that conspiracy theories, many with antisemitic roots, are gaining in popularity and that a rising racial nationalism is accompanying the continued increase in far-right terror. Hate ideologies are internationalised like never before, and so resistance must be too.”