Sobering new figures reveal that more than half of Europeans favour banning immigration from predominately Muslim countries.
A survey carried out by London-based think-tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs found that 55 per cent of Europeans across 10 countries think further immigration from mostly-Muslim countries should stop.
The research by the institute, based at Chatham House, was carried out before Donald Trump introduced his controversial immigration ban in the US.
Trump signed an executive order immediately banning migrants arriving from seven nations – Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – for 90 days.
The move sparked widespread protests across the world.
Researchers quizzed more than 10,000 people from 10 European states, asking them if they agree with the statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped.’
Opposition to future migration is largest in Poland, where 71 per cent said they oppose more migrants arriving from mostly Muslim countries.
In Austria this number was 65 per cent, in Germany it was 53 per cent and nearly half of Britons, 47 per cent, said they were in favour of a ban.
A statement from Chatham House said: ‘Our results are striking and sobering. They suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.’
A quarter of respondents said they had no opinion, while 20 per cent disagreed with stopping immigration.
Opposition to Trump’s policy has been widespread, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying it is ‘not justified to put people from a specific background or faith under general suspicion’.
And yesterday House of Commons speaker John Bercow told MPs he did not want to invite Trump to speak, stating: ‘I feel very strongly that our opposition to racism and to sexism and our support for equality before the law and an independent judiciary are hugely important considerations in the House of Commons.’
But populist right-wing figures such as Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage and Matteo Salvini have praised the US President.
Wilders last week attempted to plaster trams in the Netherlands with ‘Stop Islam’ posters.
A statement from Chatham House said: ‘There is evidence to suggest that both Trump and these radical right-wing parties reflect an underlying reservoir of public support.’
The study showed that opposition is especially high among those over 60, with 63 per cent backing a ban.
By contrast, 44 per cent of 18 to 29 year olds favoured a curb on immigration from Muslim countries, and less than half of degree holders would support the measure.