Less than one in five Germans back anti-Islam movement: Poll

Around three-quarters of Germans reject a new anti-Islamic movement that has drawn thousands on to the streets in recent months for weekly populist protests, a poll showed Friday.

Berlin: Around three-quarters of Germans reject a new anti-Islamic movement that has drawn thousands on to the streets in recent months for weekly populist protests, a poll showed Friday.

Just 17 percent said they found the so-called group, "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident" (PEGIDA), good, according to the Politbarometer poll for ZDF television.

But 74 percent of those asked rejected the group, whose rallies in the eastern city of Dresden have swelled from a few hundred three months ago to 25,000 this week.

The rejection was reflected by a majority of supporters across all the political parties with seats in parliament. 

Only backers of Germany`s new anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), which narrowly missed out on entering the national parliament in 2013 elections, view PEGIDA positively, with 70 percent expressing approval, the survey indicated.

Chancellor Angela Merkel`s statement this week that "Islam is part of Germany" divided opinion among those polled, with an equal 48 percent saying they agreed and disagreed.

Merkel reiterated her opposition to the new anti-Islamic movement, telling Friday`s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily that "prejudice, coldness, even hatred" motivated organisers of the PEGIDA marches.

Some 100,000 people took to the streets across Germany on Monday in counter-demonstrations against PEGIDA, and to voice support for multiculturalism.

The poll was conducted from Tuesday to Thursday among 1,287 people.

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