Which nations are mostly anti-Muslim


The understanding of racism in Germany is strongly linked to National Socialism. But racism is not a synonym for right-wing extremism. In particular, the discussion about "racial profiling", Islamophobic crimes or the demands of right-wing populist parties have raised the question of what racism means in the 21st century.

What is racism

Racism exists when people are constructed as homogeneous groups based on actual or supposed characteristics (e.g. skin color, origin, religion), are negatively assessed and excluded. As a rule, a distinction is made between two forms of racism:

  1. "Classical" racism claims an inequality and inequality of people based on the characteristics mentioned above.
  2. The so-called neo-racism or cultural racism, on the other hand, argues with cultural attributions such as "the Muslims" or "the Roma", whose values ​​and traditions do not "suit us".

Worth reading:
- The "Federal Agency for Civic Education" traces the history of the term racism in a dossier and provides an overview of various definitions.
- Information on the subject can also be found on the Belltower News website.

What is structural racism?

Structural racism is not about an interaction between two people, but about racist structures and decision-making processes. These are routines that are designed in such a way that above-average and regular black people and people of color: people with experience of racism who are not perceived as white, German and "Western" are disadvantaged. Source Cf. e.g. Gomolla (2017) : "Direct and indirect, institutional and structural discrimination", Wa Baile et al (2019): "Racial Profiling: Structural Racism and Anti-Racist Resistance"

Since structural racism is laid out in routines and processes, the disadvantage - unlike individual racist statements - is often difficult to identify. The individual does not necessarily make a conscious decision to disadvantage a group, but the structures of an institution - such as a school or the police - lead to this. According to experts, structural racism manifests itself in the following areas, among others:

Example school

  • Dealing with language levels: Many school routines - such as awarding grades - are geared towards children who grow up with German as their first language. Pupils whose first language is not German are therefore rated worse than they actually are in all subjects - and not just in German. Often they do not receive the support they need to participate in the class on an equal footing.
  • High school recommendation: Children who only learn German in kindergarten need time to catch up linguistically. They don't have that, as selection takes place in fourth grade. At this point in time they are not that far with the language - and then they do not receive a recommendation for a high school. The consequences are far-reaching: poorer leaving certificates, lower educational qualifications, fewer employment opportunities.
  • school books: School books often assume a homogeneous White-Christian-German student body. There, for example, tasks are set in which the students should deal with Islam as a foreign, problematic religion. Muslim students are marginalized as a result.QuelleMEDIENDIENST INTEGRATION (2020): "What is structural racism?"

Example police

The police are not allowed to control people without cause because of their skin color, hair color or other external characteristics. This so-called racial profiling is prohibited in Germany. Nevertheless, racial profiling is part of everyday life for many black people in Germany: A study by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency in 2017 showed that 14 percent of black people in Germany had experienced racial profiling in the previous five years. According to experts, this is not only due to the prejudices of individual officers. Structures in the police force probably also favor racial profiling. For this reason, among other things, many academics, civil society organizations and those affected are currently in favor of a study on racial profiling. Source Agency of the European Union for Fundamental Rights (2017): "Second European Minorities and Discrimination Survey", p. 70, MEDIENDIENST INTEGRATION (2020 ): Affected people feel abandoned ".

How common is racism in society?

Several surveys indicate that racist attitudes are widespread in the German population:

  • According to the "Mitte" study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation from 2019, around 7 percent of the population represent racist views - that is, they devalue people based on their skin color or origin. Around 19 percent are "xenophobic" because they agree with statements such as "There are too many foreigners in Germany". Hostile attitudes towards asylum seekers are much more widespread: According to the study, around 54 percent of those surveyed devalue asylum seekers, which is 10 percentage points more than in 2014. Source Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2019): "Lost center - hostile conditions", p. 79ff.
  • The "authoritarianism study" conducted by the University of Leipzig in 2020 comes to a similar conclusion. Accordingly, around 17 percent of the population largely or fully agree with the statements "The foreigners only come here to take advantage of our welfare state", "If jobs are scarce, the foreigners should be sent back to their homeland" and "The Federal Republic is through foreigned to a dangerous degree by many foreigners ". The authoritarianism study does not further differentiate between racism and xenophobia. Source Decker et al. (2020): "Authoritarian Dynamics. Old Resentments - New Dynamics", p. 49.




What studies investigate racist attitudes? Why do they come to different results?

There are several studies that examine right-wing extremist, racist or anti-Semitic attitudes in the German population. The two largest studies are the "Mitte Study" at Bielefeld University and the "Authoritarianism Study" at Leipzig University. Both studies are representative and are carried out every two years. Although some of the studies have exactly the same questions, they come to different results. Both studies, for example, ask for consent to the following statement: "The Federal Republic has been infiltrated to a dangerous degree by the large number of foreigners." In the "Mitte Study" 2019, 37% of those questioned fully or partially agreed with the statement - in the "Authoritarianism Study" 53%. This is due to the different survey methods: In the "authoritarianism study", the researchers come to the respondents' homes and give them a questionnaire. The respondents answer the questions in writing and can then return the questionnaire in a sealed envelope. In this way, the researchers do not find out what answers the respondents give. The survey of the "Mitte Study", on the other hand, is carried out by telephone: Here the respondents have to tell the researchers directly what they think. In the telephone interviews, the agreement to many statements is different, because people do not admit their views of a stranger on the phone so openly. Source FAQ Leipzig Authoritarianism Study (2020): "Why do the LAS data differ from the results of the middle- Study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation? "

How many racist crimes are there?

In 2020 the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) counted 9,420 racist crimes against the nationality, ethnicity, skin color or religion of the victims. Offenses. That was 19 percent more than in the previous year. In the statistics of the BMI, racist crimes are described as "xenophobic". The term is controversial, however: It is imprecise and reflects the perpetrators' perspective, criticize experts. Source Federal Ministry of the Interior (2021): "Politically motivated crime in 2020", p. 7; Glossary of the New German Media Makers: "xenophobia, xenophobia"

Racist crimes belong to the area of ​​so-called "hate crime" - as well as anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and antigypsy crimes, which are each recorded separately. Source Agency of the European Union for Fundamental Rights (2019): "Hate crime".

How meaningful are official figures?
In an expert report for MEDIENDIENST, the lawyer Kati Lang writes: Many racist crimes do not appear in the statistics of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. One of the reasons for this is that many of those affected do not report incidents. In addition, police authorities are not sufficiently sensitized to racism to recognize racist crimes as such. Victim counseling centers therefore record significantly more crimes than the authorities, according to Lang.QuelleKati Lang (2018): "Racist crimes - why official statistics are not meaningful", expertise for the MEDIA SERVICE

Pay tooracist acts of violence also publishes the "Association of Advice Centers for Persons Affected by Right-Wing, Racist and Anti-Semitic Violence" (VBRG). However, only acts in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Schleswig-Holstein and the five eastern German states are recorded here. In 2020, the VBRG counted 809 acts of racist violence. Most of them were directed against people with migration or refugee experience and black Germans. Source Association of counseling centers for those affected by right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence (2021): Rights, racist and anti-Semitic violence in Germany 2020 - annual balance sheets of the victim counseling centers "

Attacks against refugees

In 2020 there were 1,734 crimes against refugees nationwide. 83 of them were directed against refugee shelters, the remaining 1,651 took place outside of shelters. The number of crimes against refugee shelters peaked in 2015 and has been falling since then. Source Federal Ministry of the Interior (2021) at the request of MEDIENDIENST, own calculation; Federal Ministry of the Interior (2019): "Politically motivated crime in 2018", p. 7

Attacks on people and organizations who campaign for refugees are also registered: in 2019 the authorities counted 124 such crimes, in 2018 there were 95. Source for 2019: Bundestag printed matter 19/18269, pp. 60 and 64; for 2018: Bundestag printed matter 19/8344, p. 13

The "Amadeu Antonio Foundation" and "Pro Asyl" keep their own "Chronicle of incidents hostile to refugees". Accordingly, there were over 1,100 attacks on asylum seekers and their accommodation in 2019. Three of them were arson attacks on accommodation, another 198 physical assaults on asylum seekers (as of May 2020; there are regular late registrations). Source Amadeu Antonio Foundation / Pro Asyl: "Chronicle of incidents hostile to refugees" in 2019

Attacks on refugee shelters are rarely punished. This is shown by research by Südwestrundfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk: Of the more than 2,500 attacks that, according to the research team, occurred between 2015 and 2018, only 206 were convictions. QuelleTagesschau (2020): "Dealing with right-wing extremists - The weak state"

Anti-Muslim Racism

"Anti-Muslim racism" stands for the blanket devaluation and discrimination of people who are perceived as Muslims. Related and synonymous terms are "Islamophobia", "Islamophobia" or "Islamophobia". QuelleMEDIENDIENST INTEGRATION (2016): "What is the difference between 'Islamophobia' and 'Islamophobia'?"

Further facts and figures on the subject of anti-Muslim racism can be found in an information paper compiled by MEDIENDIENST in March 2021.

Anti-Muslim attitudes

Several representative studies show: Prejudices and negative attitudes towards Muslims and "Islam" are widespread.

  • Almost half (46.8 percent) of the people in Germany agree with the statement that "the many Muslims here sometimes make me feel like a stranger in my own country". That is a result of the Leipzig Authoritarianism Study from 2020. More than a quarter (27.4 percent) of the respondents also believe that Muslims should be prohibited from immigrating. In East Germany it is even around 40 percent. QuelleDecker, O./Brähler, E. (Gh.) (2020): "Authoritarian Dynamics. New Radicality - Old Resentments", Leipzig Authoritarianism Study, p. 64

  • More than half (52 percent) of the respondents in Germany perceive Islam as threatening. This emerges from the Bertelsmann Foundation's “Religion Monitor” 2019. 13 percent of those surveyed want to prohibit Muslims from immigrating (11 percent in the west, 20 percent in the east). In 2017 it was still 20 percent. At that time, more than 40 percent of those surveyed said that they would object if a Muslim married into the family. Source: Bertelsmann Religionsmonitor (2019): Pickel, Gert: Weltschauiche Vielfalt und Demokratie, p. 13, p. 77 f.
  • Every second person is of the opinion that Islam does not fit into German society. This was the result of a survey by the Evangelical Church in 2018. Around 45 percent of those questioned said they had something against a Muslim mayor in their community. SourceSocial Science Institute of the Evangelical Church in Germany (2018): "Islam and Muslim * Inside in Germany: The view of the population. Results of a nationwide survey ", p. 4
  • Those who know Muslims personally tend to have a positive opinion of them. This is the result of a survey published in 2018 by the Pew Research Center in the USA. The "contact hypothesis", according to which personal contact helps against prejudice, is also supported by studies here. Source Pew Research Center (2018): "In Western Europe, familiarity with Muslims is linked to positive views of Muslims and Islam"; Social Science Institute of the Evangelical Church in Germany (2018): "Islam and Muslims in Germany: The view of the population. Results of a nationwide survey, p. 11

Anti-Muslim Offenses

In 2020, the Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) recorded 1,026 Islamophobic crimes nationwide. That was eight percent more than in the previous year. In 2019, the BMI counted 950 Islamophobic crimes. In both years around 90 percent of the crimes were right-wing motivated. Source Federal Ministry of the Interior (2021): "Politically motivated crime in 2020", p. 8; Federal Ministry of the Interior (2020): "Politically motivated crime in 2019, p. 6

Islamophobic crimes include attacks on mosques. In 2020, the Federal Ministry of the Interior counted 103 mosque attacks, including primarily property damage and sedition. In 2019, the BMI recorded 107 attacks. The authorities have been using a catalog of targets for a nationwide uniform recording of attacks. Before that, the federal and state governments did not compare the number of cases with each other, the numbers before 2019 may therefore be incomplete. Source Federal Ministry of the Interior (2020): "Politically motivated crime 2020", p. 15; BMI at the request of MEDIA SERVICE in February 2021; Bundestag printed matter 19/17069, p. 13

Not all crimes are reported or recognized as Islamophobic by the authorities. In recent years, Islamic organizations have achieved significantly higher numbers than the Federal Ministry of the Interior. The organization FAIR InternationalFAIR stands for "Federation Against Injustice And Racism" and is close to the organization of the "Islamic Community Millî Görüş" (IGMG). For example, attacks on mosques are documented on the #brandeilig website. In 2019, the organization recorded 141 attacks. In 2018 there were 112 attacks, including eleven arson attacks. In 2016, the Islamic umbrella organization DITIB recorded 115 attacks on mosques in its own survey. SourceTurkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion (ed., 2017): "Mosque attacks in Germany 2016. A report by the DITIB anti-racism and anti-discrimination agency", p. 8 ; #brandeilig: Timeline 2019, 2018 (as of February 24, 2021); FAIR International (2019): Press release "Almost 90 attacks on mosques in 2018"

Advice centers for those affected

CLAIM has compiled a list of contact persons, while the Association of Advice Centers for those affected by right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic violence offers an interactive map with advice centers in all federal states, which are aimed directly at those affected by anti-Muslim racism and Islamophobia. This is the result of a short study published in 2021 by the Alliance against Islamophobia and Muslim Hostility CLAIM. It also shows that half of the 79 organizations surveyed do not have a process to record anti-Muslim racism. Most offices state that their advisory team is sufficiently qualified on the topic. The authors of the study do not consider this to be sufficient and call for counseling and personnel centers in the federal states that specialize in anti-Muslim racism. SourceCLAIM - Alliance against Islamophobia and Muslim Hostility (2020): "Counseling offers for those affected by anti-Muslim racism, pp. 17, 42

Antigypsyism in Germany

Antiziganism is a specific racism against people who are perceived as Sinti * ze and Rom * nja. The only representative study that exclusively deals with attitudes towards the group was published in 2014 by the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency. It shows: about every third German does not want any Sinti * ze or Rom * nja as neighbors. Around 9 percent of those questioned show a "strong" dislike, and 16 percent a "medium" dislike. According to the study, no other minority is rejected as strongly as this group. SourceGlossary of the New German Media Makers: Term Antiziganism; Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (2014): "Between indifference and rejection", pp. 76, 81 and 82; See here for a summary

The "Mitte" study by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung from 2019 shows similar values. According to this, around 26 percent of the population are hostile to Sinti * ze or Rom * nja. SourceFriedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2019): "Lost center - hostile States ", p. 83.

According to a study by the University of Leipzig from 2018, around 60 percent of those surveyed share the view that Sinti * ze or Rom * nja tend to be criminal. 56 percent agreed with the statement that they would have problems with members of the minority in their area. QuelleDecker et al. (2018): "Flight into the authoritarian - right-wing extremist dynamics in the middle of society", p. 103 f.

A qualitative study of professionally successful women from Roma and Sinti families shows: All of the respondents experienced discrimination in school. Until they started school, many of them had never heard the word "gypsies". QuelleJonuz, Elizabeta / Schuch, Jane (2017): "Resistance is possible - self- and external constructions of successful Romnja and Sintizza along the difference categories class, race und gender ", in: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, issue 06, p. 738 ff .; See also the MEDIA SERVICE interview with the authors on November 10, 2016

The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma published a survey among German Sinti and Roma in 2006. 76 percent of those questioned stated that they had been discriminated against more frequently at work, by neighbors, in restaurants or other places Source: Central Council of German Sinti and Roma (2006): "Representative survey on racism against Sinti and Roma in Germany"

In 2020 the authorities counted 128antigypsy crimes. In 2019 there were 78 offenses. This represents an increase of around 64 percent. Antigypsy crimes have been recorded in the statistics on "Politically Motivated Crime" since 2017. Source Federal Ministry of the Interior (2021): "Politically Motivated Crime in 2020", p. 7

Anti-black racism

Anti-black racism is the discrimination and devaluation of black, African or Afro-diasporic people or people who are read as black.

The first comprehensive study on the reality of life for black people in Germany - the Afrozensus - will be published by the Each One Teach One (EOTO) association in mid-2021. So far, there have hardly been any studies or representative surveys that separately record experiences of discrimination or examine attitudes towards black people.

According to studies and reports by those affected, anti-black racism manifests itself in all areas of society, institutionally and structurally, including in professional life, in contact with authorities and offices as well as when looking for accommodation.QuelleBIM (2017) "Discrimination Experiences in Germany", p.135 .

The representative study "Being Black in the EU" by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency 2018 records experiences of discrimination among black people in EU countries. In it, 48 percent of black people in Germany stated that they had experienced racist hostility in the past five years. It was 30 percent across the EU. 9 percent of the racist attacks in Germany were officially reported as experiences of violence, whereas only 15 percent of all racist incidents were reported at all. Further results:

  • Every third black person in Germany experienced racism both when looking for an apartment (33 percent) and in professional life (31 percent).
  • 34 percent of those questioned stated that they had been checked by the police in the last five years, 41 percent felt that the last police check was racial profiling.


Various agencies nationwide offer advice to those affected by anti-black racism, including the Each One Teach One (EOTO) association. Its monitoring unit also records incidents of anti-black racism in Berlin; in 2020 there were 376. This includes insults, attacks and structural disadvantage. SourceEOTO on request from MEDIA SERVICE;

Racial Profiling

What is racial profiling?

Racial profiling is used when the police inspect people because of their skin color, hair color or other external characteristics without a specific reason. It is also racial profiling if the appearance is one of several indications for the control. SourceDeutsches Institut für Menschenrechte (2013): "'Racial Profiling'-checks against human rights according to §22, paragraph 1 a Federal Police Act: Recommendations to the legislator, Courts and Police ", pp. 6 and 26; Higher Administrative Court of Rhineland-Palatinate: judgment of April 21, 2016 (7 A 11108/14)

How many cases are known?

A representative study from 2017 shows: 14 percent of black people in Germany have experienced racial profiling in the previous five years. Source Agency of the European Union for Fundamental Rights (2017): "Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey", p. 70

Authorities record far fewer cases: in 2019, for example, the federal police registered only 51 complaints about racial profiling. Between 2016 and 2019 there were 137 complaints. Experts explain the low numbers by the fact that there are hardly any independent complaint offices in Germany. So far, only Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Thuringia have set up such offices. Source: Office for the Implementation of Equal Treatment e.V. (2016): "Concept for the establishment of independent police complaints offices", p. 17 there. Those affected must file complaints with the police. This often leads to contraindications. The court process is again expensive and not very promising. SourceBundestags-Drucksache 19/19458, p. 5, partly own calculation; IDA e.V. (2018): "Racial Profiling in Sight - Racism in the Police, Consequences and Intervention Options", p. 5; Anti-Discrimination Office Cologne (2017): "People like DU tend to commit criminal acts - (Racist) discrimination in the police: causes, consequences and possibilities of intervention", pp. 18-25

What are the consequences of racial profiling for those affected?

A study from Switzerland shows: Those affected by racial profiling can develop a chronic fear of controls and lose confidence in the police. Many feel ashamed or exposed. In addition, those affected report that they avoid certain places or withdraw. One person said she lost her job because she was late for work due to a police interrogation. In Germany people report similar experiences. QuelleAllianz gegen Racial Profiling (2019): "Racial Profiling - Experience, Effect, Resistance", pp. 88-109; Anti-Discrimination Office Cologne (2017): "People like DU tend to criminal offenses (racist) discrimination in the police: causes, consequences and possibilities of intervention", pp. 14-15

What is the legal situation?

At the international level, the human rights treaties of the UN and the Council of Europe prohibit racial profiling. At the national level, racist police controls violate Article 3 of the Basic Law. The Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine-Westphalia made this clear in 2018. The Basic Law article states that "nobody because of their gender, their origin, their race. The term" race "is problematic. It implies that there are different" races "of people. Therefore, female lawyers are calling for the term to be replaced in the Basic Law. Source : German Institute for Human Rights (2010): "A Basic Law without 'Race' - Proposal for an amendment of Article 3 Basic Law", its language, its homeland and origin, its belief, its religious or political beliefs [...] [may]." At the same time, however, there are laws that favor racial profiling. SourceUnited Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Art. 2; European Convention on Human Rights (1953), Art. 14; Higher Administrative Court of North Rhine Westphalia: judgment of 07.08.2018 (5 A 294/16); German Basic Law, Art. 3, Paragraph 3; German Institute for Human Rights (2013): "'Racial Profiling' - Human Rights Controls in Accordance with Section 22 Paragraph 1 a of the Federal Police Act: Recommendations to the legislature, courts and the police", p. 7

  • According to Section 22 of the Federal Police Act, the Federal Police should prevent unauthorized entry. To do this, she is allowed to check people on trains, at train stations and airports and inspect items such as luggage. In practice, officials often use external features such as skin or hair color to determine alleged unauthorized entry. Source Federal Police Act §22 Paragraph 1a; German Institute for Human Rights (2013): "'Racial Profiling' - Human Rights Controls According to Section 22 Para. 1a Federal Police Act: Recommendations to the legislature, courts and police", p. 27 ff.
  • In addition, §23 of the Federal Police Act and various state police laws. A prominent example is the Police Task Act in Bavaria, that police officers * inside people in "dangerous places" The police classify places where many criminal offenses occur as "dangerous places". ask for ID without there being any specific suspicion against you. Residents and passers-by are particularly often affected by racial profiling in these places. Source Federal Police Act §23; Police Task Act Bavaria, Art. 13; Hendrik Cremer (2019): "Prohibition of racial discrimination - method of racial profiling is contrary to fundamental and human rights", in Deutsches Polizeiblatt für Bildungs ​​und Fortbildung 3/2019, p. 23

What is the UN Anti-Racism Convention?

The United Nations Convention on Anti-Racism is the first legally binding declaration against racism. It was adopted in 1965 and ratified by Germany in 1969. Every four years, the federal government must submit a report in which it provides information on the implementation of the agreement. The last report was submitted to the responsible UN technical committee in April 2020, which is now examining the report. If the committee finds that Germany is not implementing the agreement sufficiently, it can formulate recommendations for action. In the last review in 2015, the committee emphasized that there was a great need for action in the fight against racism in Germany. Source UN Anti-Racism Committee (2015): "Concluding observations on the combined nineteenth to twenty-second periodic reports of Germany"

In Germany there is the possibility of initiating an individual complaint procedure. That means: Individuals or groups of people can turn to the UN Anti-Racism Committee if they feel that their rights have been violated by the German state. The complaint is only admissible if "the domestic legal process has been exhausted". SourceDeutsches Institut für Menschenrechte, information on the individual complaint procedure

The first complaint of this kind ended with a reprimand against Germany: In 2010 the Berlin public prosecutor's office had rejected a lawsuit against the former Berlin Senator for Finance Thilo Sarrazin for sedition and insult. The Turkish Federation Berlin-Brandenburg then turned to the UN Anti-Racism Committee. In 2013 he found that the Berlin public prosecutor's office had closed the case against Sarrazin too quickly and thus violated the UN Anti-Racism Convention. Source UN Anti-Racism Committee (2013): Communication No. 48/2010; MEDIA SERVICE article from April 2013

What is the Council of Europe's Anti-Racism Commission?

The Council of Europe's Anti-Racism Commission (ECRI) is a body that aims to help combat racism in Europe. The commission works closely with civil society organizations and publishes regular country reports in which it identifies gaps in the fight against racism and makes recommendations.

The last report on Germany was published in March 2020. It states that Germany has "developed good practices" to counter racism. But there are "issues that cause concern". The mandate of the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS) is too narrow to provide effective support for those affected by racism. In schools, teachers felt that they were not adequately prepared for teaching in various classes. And there is too little awareness among the police of the problem of racial profiling. Among other things, the Commission proposes:

  • The ADS mandate should be expanded. This also includes enabling the ADS to provide legal assistance to those affected by racism and discrimination and to represent them before institutions, decision-making bodies and courts.
  • The federal states should better prepare teachers in training and further education to teach in multicultural classes and to intervene in cases of discrimination.
  • The police should commission a study on racial profiling and take measures to prevent racist police controls. Source European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (2020): "ECRI report on Germany (sixth round of audits)", p. 7 ff.

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