A new study shows intolerance toward Muslims and Jews is most prevalent in Italy, while the Netherlands remains the most tolerant country in Western Europe.
The results of the report by the US-based Pew Research Center, released on Tuesday, have come amid heightened anxiety about Islam and anti-Semitism across Europe.
Muslim or Jews as neighbours
The study, which surveyed about 25.000 people across 15 European countries showed that 21% of Italians are not willing to accept Muslims as their neighbours, while 12% refuse to accept Jews as their neighbours.
This makes Italians the most intolerant towards Muslims and Jews in Western Europe, as the proportion for the rest of the surveyed countries does not exceed 11% for Muslims and 8% for Jews.
The Netherlands has, as always, lived up to its image as the most permissive country in the Western world with 3% of the Dutch respondent expressing resentment for Muslims as neighbours, and only 1% for Jews.
Muslims or Jews as family members
The study also found that a high percentage of Italians expressed refusal of Muslims or Jews as their family members. 43% of Italian respondents said that they did not accept that their family members were Muslims, while the general percentage among European people who refused Muslims to be among their family members was no more than 24%.
25% of Italians were also not willing to accept Jews as members of their family, while the general percentage for European people did not exceed 17%.
The Netherlands was again found to be the most tolerant country in this regard as only 9% of the Dutch respondents rejected Muslims as their family members and only 3% the Jews.
In addition to Italy, the study showed that Britain, Austria and Germany were among the counties with the highest anti-Muslims and anti-Semitism sentiments.
The study also showed that anti-Muslim sentiment far exceeded anti-Semitism in all of the surveyed countries.