Study: Half of Belgian Muslim teens have anti-Semitic views

ANTWERP, Belgium (JTA) — A major survey among Belgian teenagers indicated that anti-Semitism was seven times more prevalent among Muslim youths than in non-Muslim teens.

Conducted in recent months by three universities for the Flemish government, the survey was published last month based on questionnaires filled out by 3,867 high school students in Antwerp and Ghent, including 1,068 Muslims.

Among Muslims, 50.9 percent of respondents agreed with the statement “Jews foment war and blame others for it,” compared to 7.1 percent among non-Muslims. Among Muslims, 24.5 percent said they partially agreed with the statement, as did 20.6 percent of non-Muslims.

The statement “Jews seek to control everything” received a 45.1 approval rating among Muslims, compared to 10.8 approval among non-Muslims. Of Muslims, 27.9 percent said they partially agreed, as did 29.2 percent of non-Muslims.

Approximately 35 percent of Muslims agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much clout in Belgium,” compared to 11.8 percent of non-Muslims who participated in the “Young in Antwerp and Ghent” survey. The results were part of a 360-page report that was produced for the Flemish government’s Youth Research Platform by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Last week, the Brussels-based Jewish educational organization CEJI, which promotes tolerance in Europe, requested a meeting with Belgian Education Minister Pascal Smet to discuss the survey and address “the classical anti-Semitic attitudes” revealed by the study, “which we hoped not to see in a democratic Europe after World War II,” wrote CEJI’s director, Robin Sclafani.

Claude Marinower, Antwerp’s alderman for education, told JTA that he found the data “most troubling.” In an interview for the Antwerp-based monthly Joods Actueel, Marinower said he would launch an action plan to fight anti-Semitism in the Flemish capital’s schools.

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