A survey carried out by the U.S. based “fact-tank” Pew Research Centre analysed perception of refugees, minorities and cultural diversity by citizens across 10 EU countries. The results paint a worrisome picture, with the majority of respondents in almost every country surveyed showing a negative perception of refugees, linking  them in different proportions to terrorism, loss of jobs for citizens and higher crime rates.

Among the countries surveyed, Greece, Hungary, Italy and Poland are the ones who expressed the strongest concerns and negatives attitudes towards refugees and minority groups. The perceptions of refugees are strongly influenced by an already existing negative attitude towards Muslims in general, who many believe are not willing to integrate, according to the results of the survey.

According to the survey negative concerns about refugees and other minorities – as well as a lack of understanding of the value of diversity – are generally expressed more consistently by those who identify themselves on the ideological right, but also by older generations and by less-educated individuals.

The results of the survey come amidst a climate of increased racist-based attacks against refugees and migrants: in the UK, the days and weeks after the referendum have been marred by countless verbal and physical attacks against refugees, asylum seekers and EU nationals alike.

In Italy, a Nigerian asylum seeker was beaten to death last week after trying to defend his wife from racist abuse. Emmanuel Chidi Namdi escaped Boko Haram after his 2-year old daughter and his in-laws were killed in a bomb explosion and survived the Mediterranean crossing with his wife. He was struck down by an ultrá – Italian hooligan – on the streets of Fermo, where he was being hosted in a shelter for asylum seekers.

The European Network against Racism (ENAR) condemned the murder stating that the inability of the EU and national governments to face up to the rise of racism and xenophobia in the EU is causing these incidents.  “[This is] not an isolated incident. [Emmanuel] adds to the countless victims of daily racist violence and hate in Europe. His murder has been incited and nurtured by the widespread representation of migrants and Black people as a threat and fear-mongering in public and political discourse.”

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 15 July 2016. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.