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Us/Not-us

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, negative views of Jews and Muslins
are on the rise in Europe.

The survey, published last September by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, of the Pew Research Center for
the People & the Press - a “fact tank”, as it defines itself, located in Washington, D.C. - is conducted yearly.

It was found that, if, in Europe, Spain is the country where there was the sharpest rise in anti-Semitic views,
in Britain anti-Semitic opinions have almost leveled off this year when compared to last year’s findings.

In 2005, 21% of the Spanish expressed negative views of Jews, whereas in 2008 that number climbed to
46%. Not so in Britain, whose percentage in 2008 (9%) is up just 2% from the 2005 survey.

The data also show that, except for Britain, in many parts of Europe, Jews are not seen nicely by the
respondents. In fact, there is an escalating negative view of Jews in Poland, Russia, Germany and France.

To name a few, in Russia 25% of the people surveyed expressed negative opinions of Jews in 2004, whereas
those who did so in 2008 were 34%. Similarly, in German, but to a lesser degree, 20% of the respondents
hold a negative view of Jews in 2004, while in 2008 those who did so were 25%.

Even in France, where the motto “Vive la difference!” is highly praised and cherished culturally, the low
opinions about Jews increased to 20% in 2008, from 11% in 2004. Not surprisingly, then, that we have just
heard that vandals have hit over 500 Muslins graves in northern France, on the eve of Islam’s Eid al-Adha
festival.

This attack only reinforces this survey’s findings. According to it, Muslins were even more negatively
perceived by the European public opinion than Jews. In some countries, it is true, negative views of Muslins
are on the wane. Even so, they are still far higher than those of Jews.

Spain and Germany presents almost the same pattern of Islamophobia. While in Spain 52% of the
respondents rate muslins negatively, in Germany 50% did so. Yet, there is a trend in those countries, say, in
not disliking Muslins too much, that is to say, the percentage of those rating Muslins negatively has
declined in both countries from 60% and 53%, respectively, from 2006 to 2008.

While the survey shows that only 23% of the Britons hold negative views of Jews, the French and Russians
are clearly in opposing directions in this matter.

Whereas Russians have shown a steadily more favourable view of Muslins over the years, the French have
shown an increasing set of negative views of Muslins from 2004 to 2008, the years covered by the survey.

Yet, for the Economist, “for many European municipalities accommodating Islam is a big dilemma – but
not an insoluble one”. However, to know how far Europe is truly accepting Islam is something that we will
only know for sure in the years to come.

For more information, please, see the full survey: http://pewglobal.org/reports/pdf/262.pdf

http://www.economist.com/world/international/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12724966&source=hptextfeat
ure

By Hamilton William dos Santos

São Paulo - Brasil