BUCHAREST, Romania – Teenagers in Romania are widely intolerant of Gypsies, gays and people with AIDS, according to a new poll that called the results "extremely worrisome."
The findings published late Tuesday came from a poll paid for by the Soros Foundation and conducted in November. The report says the results show a large number of Romanian teenagers could be described as racist and anti-Semitic.
Homosexuals were rated as the least preferred neighbors, with three-quarters of those questioned saying they would not want gays living next door. That was followed by Gypsies and people with AIDS, which some two-thirds of respondents would not like to have as neighbors.
Romania decriminalized homosexuality in 2001 but prejudice remains, with the dominant Romanian Orthodox Church strongly opposing homosexuality. In 2007, police used tear gas and clashed with more than 100 protesters who attacked an annual gay rights parade with stones and fireworks.
The poll also showed that 42 percent are opposed to having a Muslim neighbor, and 34 percent opposed to a Jewish neighbor.
The findings showed that while children from more educated families were generally less intolerant, they were more intolerant of Gypsies, or Roma. In Romania, home to an estimated 1.5 million Roma, there is widespread prejudice against the minority.
About 5,860 students aged 14 to 18 were questioned and the poll had a 2 percent margin of error.
George Soros' Open Society Foundations have put almost $150 million (€110 million) into groups helping Romas