PEGIDA a vehicle for discontent, fear of Islamization secondary | News | DW | 14.01.2015
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PEGIDA a vehicle for discontent, fear of Islamization secondary

According to a new survey, protesters of the anti-Islamization movement PEGIDA are mostly dissatisfied with politics and elites in general. The results contradict belief that they specifically worry about Islamization.

The typical PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West) demonstrator is male, in his late forties, educated with an above-average salary and hails from the eastern state of Saxony, according to a survey among PEGIDA protesters carried out by the Technical University of Dresden, the city where the movement started.

Around 400 people were surveyed at the end of December, although roughly 65 percent of PEGIDA protesters refused to take part.

Those who did take part mostly said that the demonstrations were "first and foremost an opportunity to express deep-seated but hitherto unarticulated resentment and discontent with the political and other elites," according to Hans Vorländer, who headed the study.

Twenty percent are also concerned about the work of the media. Resentment against asylum seekers and immigrants in general was also a major worry. And although around 42 percent of those surveyed expressed some form of prejudice against Islam and Muslims, a fear of Islamization is not their main concern.

Rather, according to Vorländer, the PEGIDA movement is a sign of a crisis of representative democracy in Germany - a worry that those "up there" are dictating to "us down here." Many are not prepared to accept the lengthy process of implementing anything in a democracy nor the compromises it takes for such a system to function, Vorländer explained.

The survey is the first empirical study done on the PEGIDA movement, which has spread from Dresden to many German cities, but has also led to massive counter-demonstrations. Famous landmarks like Cologne Cathedral and the Dresden Semperoper opera house switched off their lighting in protest at PEGIDA marches.

ng/lw (dpa, KNA)

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