Islam in Germany
|Islam by country|
Owing to labour migration in the 1960s and several waves of political refugees since the 1970s, Islam has become a visible religion in Germany. According to a national census conducted in 2011, 1.9% of Germany's population (around 1.5m people) declared themselves as Muslim. However, this is likely to underestimate the true number, given that many respondents may have exercised their right not to state their religion. An estimate made in 2015 calculated that there are 4.4 to 4.7 million Muslims in Germany (5.4–5.7% of the population). Of these, 1.9 million are German citizens (2.4%). According to the German statistical office 9.1% of all newborns in Germany had Muslim parents in 2005.
- 1 Demographics
- 2 History
- 3 Denominations
- 4 Islamic organisations
- 5 Controversies
- 6 Religiosity of young Muslims
- 7 Notable German Muslims
- 8 German Orientalists
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 Further reading
- 12 External links
Islam is the largest minority religion in the country, with the Protestant and Roman Catholic confessions being the majority religions. There are between 2.1 and 4.7 million Muslims. This lack of exactitude has to do with the fact that many people from the Muslim World aren't practicing believers according to a German study conducted in 2016.
The large majority of Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin (63.2%), followed by smaller groups from Pakistan, countries of the former Yugoslavia, Arab countries, Iran and Afghanistan. Most Muslims live in Berlin and the larger cities of former West Germany. However, unlike in most other European countries, sizeable Muslim communities exist in some rural regions of Germany, especially Baden-Württemberg, Hesse and parts of Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. Owing to the lack of labour immigration before 1989, there are only very few Muslims in the former East Germany. Among the German districts with the highest share of Muslim migrants are Groß-Gerau (district) and Offenbach (district) according to migrants data from the census 2011.  The majority of Muslims in Germany are Sunnis, at 75%. There are Shia Muslims (7%) and mostly from Iran. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community organization comprise a minority of Germany's Muslims, numbering some 35,000 members or a little over 1% of the Muslim population, and are found in 244 communities as of 2013.
Muslims first moved to Germany as part of the diplomatic, military and economic relations between Germany and the Ottoman Empire in the eighteenth century. Twenty Muslim soldiers served under Frederick William I of Prussia, at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1745, Frederick II of Prussia established a unit of Muslims in the Prussian army called the "Muslim Riders" and consisting mainly of Bosniaks, Albanians and Tatars. In 1760 a Bosniak corps was established with about 1,000 men.
In 1798 a Muslim cemetery was established in Berlin. The cemetery, which moved in 1866, still exists today.
The German section of the World Islamic Congress and the Islam Colloquium, the first German Muslim educational institution for children, were established in 1932. At this time there were 3,000 Muslims in Germany, 300 of whom were of German descent.
The Islamic Institut Ma’ahad-ul-Islam was founded in 1927 and is now known under the name "Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv-Deutschland" (Central Islamic Archive Institute).
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini energetically recruited Muslims for the SS (Schutzstaffel), the Nazi Party’s elite military command. He recruited Muslim volunteers for the German armed forces and was involved in the organization and recruitment of Muslims into several divisions of the Waffen SS and other units.
After the West German Government invited foreign workers ("Gastarbeiter") in 1961, the figure sharply rose to currently 4.3 million within two decades (most of them Turkish from the rural region of Anatolia in southeast Turkey). They are sometimes called a parallel society within ethnic Germans.
In May 2018 a court in Berlin upheld the right the state's neutrality principle by barring a primary school teacher from wearing a headscarf during classes, where the court spokesman stated that children should be free of the influence that can be exerted by religious symbols.
According to a study in 2018 by Leipzig University, 56% of Germans sometimes thought the many Muslims made them feel like strangers in their own country, up from 43% in 2014. In 2018, 44% thought immigration by Muslims should be banned, up from 37% in 2014.
Muslims in Germany belong to serval different branches of Islam (approximately data):
- Sunnis 2,640,000
- Alevis 500,000
- Twelvers Shi'as 225,500
- Alawites 70,000
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland K.d.ö.R. 35,000-45,000
- Salafis 10,300
- Sufis 10,000
- Ismailis 1,900
- Zaydis 800
- Ibadis 270
- Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement 60
Only a minority of the Muslims residing in Germany are members of religious associations.
- Diyanet İşleri Türk İslam Birliği (DİTİB): German branch of the Turkish Presidency for Religious Affairs, Cologne. As of 2016, the Turkish government funds and provides staff for 900 of Germany's roughly 3000 mosques run by DİTİB.
- Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş: close to the Islamist Saadet Partisi in Turkey, Kerpen near Cologne
- Islamische Gemeinschaft Jamaat un-Nur (de): German branch of the Risale-i Nur Society (Said Nursi)
- Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland organization of Arab Muslims close to the Muslim Brotherhood, Frankfurt
In addition there are numerous local associations without affiliation to any of these organisations. Two organisations have been banned in 2002 because their programme was judged as contrary to the constitution: The "Hizb ut-Tahrir" and the so-called "Caliphate State" founded by Cemalettin Kaplan and later led by his son Metin Kaplan.
- Islamische Gemeinschaft der schiitischen Gemeinden Deutschlands (IGS): Head organization that unite all Shiite mosques and associations in Germany, with being the Islamic Centre Hamburg the most important Shia mosque in Germany.
- Al-Mustafa Institut Berlin: A branch of the Al-Mustafa International University in Qum, Iran to Islamic theology to students in Germany and Europe.
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland K.d.ö.R.: German branch of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community. There is no ethnicity or race associated with this community although most of the members of the community residing in Germany are of Pakistani origin. The Ahmadiyya Community was established in Germany in 1923 in Berlin and is one of the largest in Europe. Communities exist in Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Bremen.
- Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement: German branch of the worldwide Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.
- Ibn Ruschd-Goethe mosque in Berlin was founded by Seyran Ateş. The liberal mosque has been condemned by the Turkish religious authority and the Egyptian Fatwa Council at the Al-Azhar University.
- Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought.
- King Fahd Academy, sponsored by Saudi Arabia
- According to the FFGI at Goethe University Frankfurt, wahhabist ideology is spread in Germany as in other European country mostly by an array of informal, personal and organisational networks, where organisations closely associated with the government of Saudi Arabia such as the Muslim World League (WML) and the World Association of Muslim Youth are actively participating.
- Verband der islamischen Kulturzentren: German branch of the conservative Süleymancı sect in Turkey, Cologne
- Verband der Islamischen Gemeinden der Bosniaken: Bosnian Muslims, Kamp-Lintfort near Duisburg
- Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv-Deutschland e.V. : Documentary of Islamic Foundation-writings since 1739. The Islamic Institute was founded in 1942 (Sooner called Ma’ahad-ul-Islam Institut).[clarification needed]
Furthermore, there are the following umbrella organisations:
- Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland)
- Islamic Council in Germany (Islamrat in Deutschland)
As elsewhere in Western Europe, the rapid growth of the Muslim community in Germany has led to social tensions and political controversy, partly connected to Islamic extremism, and more generally due to the perceived difficulties of multiculturalism and fears of Überfremdung.
Perpetrators of antisemitistic verbal|
harassment and physical assault
|Characterisation of antisemitic attackers as reported by Jewish victims. An attacker may belong to more than 1 group. Source: Bielefeld University|
A 2017 study on Jewish perspectives on antisemitism in Germany by Bielefeld University found that individuals and groups belonging to the extreme right and extreme left were equally represented as perpetrators of antisemitic harassment and assault, while the largest part of the attacks were committed by Muslim assailants. The study also found that 70% of the participants feared a rise in antisemitism due to immigration citing the antisemitic views of the refugees.
In the education system
One such issue concerns the wearing of the head-scarf by teachers in schools and universities. The right to practice one's religion, stated by the teachers in question, contradicts in the view of many the neutral stance of the state towards religion. As of 2006, many of the German federal states have introduced legislation banning head-scarves for teachers. It is almost certain that in 2006 these laws will be validated as constitutional.
In the German federal states with the exception of Bremen, Berlin and Brandenburg, lessons of religious education overseen by the respective religious communities are taught as an elective subject in state schools. It is being discussed whether apart from the Catholic and Protestant (and in a few schools, Jewish) religious education that currently exists, a comparable subject of Islamic religious education should be introduced as a regular part of the curricula. In several states, trials for Islamic religious education are being conducted, while in the states of Hessen, Lower-Saxony and Northrhine-Westphalia, Islamic religious education already is integrated as a regular class. The problem that the cooperation with Islamic organisations is hampered by the fact that none of them can be considered as representative of the whole Muslim community.
Construction of mosques and other projects
The construction of mosques is occasionally resisted by anti Muslim reactions in the neighbourhoods concerned. For example, in 2007 an attempt by Muslims to build a large mosque in Cologne sparked a controversy.
Similarly with the Sendlinger Mosque Controversy, and the proposed construction of a training academy in Munich, originally called the "Centre for Islam in Europe, Munich" (ZIE-M), and later the "Munich Forum for Islam".
Islamic Theological Studies
In 2010, the German Ministry of Education and Research established Islamic Theological Studies as an academic discipline at public universities in order to train teachers for Islamic religious education and Muslim theologians. Since then, Islamic theological departments have been established at several universities, conducting research and teaching on Islam from a theological perspective.
Concerns of Islamic fundamentalism came to the fore after September 11, 2001, especially with respect to Islamic fundamentalism among second- and third-generation Muslims in Germany - the Hamburg cell, which included Mohamed Atta, was prominent in the planning and execution of the September 11 attacks. Also the various confrontations between Islamic religious law (Sharia) and the norms of German Grundgesetz and culture are the subject of intense debate. German critics include both liberals and Christian groups. The former claim that Islamic fundamentalism violates basic fundamental rights whereas the latter maintain that Germany is a state and society grounded in the Christian tradition.
According to a 2012 poll, 72% of the Turks in Germany believe that Islam is the only true religion and 46% wish that one day more Muslims live in Germany than Christians. According to a 10-year survey by the University of Bielefeld, which dealt with different aspects of attitudes to Islam, "distrust" of Islam is widespread in Germany with only 19 percent of Germans believing that Islam is compatible with German culture.
According to 2013 study by Social Science Research Center Berlin, two thirds of the Muslims interviewed say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live, almost 60 percent of the Muslim respondents reject homosexuals as friends; 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted; and an equally large group believes that the West is out to destroy Islam (Christian respondents’ answers for comparison: As many as 9 percent are openly anti-Semitic; 13 percent do not want to have homosexuals as friends; and 23 percent think that Muslims aim to destroy Western culture).
Salafists strive to live exclusively according to the Quran. According to German authorities, Salafism is incompatible with the principles codified in the Constitution of Germany, in particular democracy, the rule of law and a political order based on human rights. According to the German security service, the Salafist movement attracts rising numbers. In 2011 there were an estimated 3800 Salafists in Germany, which rose to 10300 in September 2017. According to head of security office Hans-Georg Maaßen, the Salafist scene in Germany is not dominated by any one single individual, but instead a great many persons have to be monitored.
In 2016, the interior minstry of North Rhine-Westphalia reported that the number of mosques with a salafist influence had risen from 30 to 55, which indicated both an actual increase and improved reporting.
Islamist scene in Germany
Turkish and Kurdish Islamist groups are also active in Germany, and Turkish and Kurdish Islamists have co-operated in Germany as in the case of the Sauerland terror cell. Political scientist Guido Steinberg stated that many top leaders of Islamist organizations in Turkey fled to Germany in the 2000s, and that the Turkish (Kurdish) Hizbullah has also "left an imprint on Turkish Kurds in Germany." Also many Kurds from Iraq (there are about 50,000 to 80,000 Iraqi Kurds in Germany) financially supported Kurdish-Islamist groups like Ansar al Islam. Many Islamists in Germany are ethnic Kurds (Iraqi and Turkish Kurds) or Turks. Before 2006, the German Islamist scene was dominated by Iraqi Kurds and Palestinians, but since 2006 Kurds and Turks from Turkey are dominant.
In 2016, 90 mosques were monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution for their islamist ideology. These were mostly Arabic-language "backyard mosques" where self-appointed imams exhorted their followers to wage jihad.
Since the start of 2017 until April 2018, 80 islamist extremists without German citizenship were deported to their home countries.
Banning of IHH Germany
In July 2010, Germany outlawed the Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V. (IHH Germany), saying it had used donations to support Hamas, which is considered by the European Union and Germany to be a terrorist organization, while presenting their activities to donors as humanitarian help. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said, "Donations to so-called social welfare groups belonging to Hamas, such as the millions given by IHH, actually support the terror organization Hamas as a whole." IHH e.V. was believed by the German Authorities to have collected money in mosques and to have sent $8.3 million to organizations related to Hamas.
Religiosity of young Muslims
Studies show that while not all Muslims are religious, Muslim youths are markedly more religious than non-Muslim youths. A study comparing Turkish Muslim youths living in Germany and German youth found that the former were more likely to attend religious services regularly (35% versus 14%).
41% of young Turkish Muslim boys and 52% of the girls said they prayed "sometimes or regularly"; 64% of boys and 74% of girls said they wanted to teach their children religion.
Notable German Muslims
- Kristiane Backer a German television presenter, television journalist and author
- Atif Bashir, footballer, plays for Barry Town in the Welsh Football League First Division.
- Aslı Bayram a German actor and writer and an honorary Ambassador for Crime Prevention by the Justice Ministry Hessen, Germany
- Danny Blum, German Soccer player
- Sevim Dağdelen a German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag
- Ekin Deligöz a Turkish-German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag
- Khalid El-Masri
- Ibrahim El-Zayat a European Muslim activist in Germany and has been a functionary in many important Islamic organizations in Germany, Europe, and Saudi Arabia.
- Abdoldjavad Falaturi was a German scholar of Iranian origin
- Cemile Giousouf a German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag
- Fritz Grobba was a German diplomat during the interwar period and World War II
- Karim Guédé a football player
- İlkay Gündoğan a German football player
- Murad Wilfried Hofmann a prominent German diplomat and author
- Hadayatullah Hübsch German writer and journalist
- Ashiq Hussain, Neuroscientist, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology
- Lamya Kaddor a German writer and known for introducing Islamic education in German in public schools in Germany
- Jawed Karim a German-American Internet entrepreneur
- Elsa Kazi was a German writer of one-act plays, short stories, novels and history, and a poet
- Hasnain Kazim an author and journalist, correspondent of the German news magazine Der Spiegel and Spiegel Online
- Necla Kelek a German feminist and social scientist
- Navid Kermani a German writer and a scholar of Islam
- Sami Khedira, German Soccer player
- Mouhanad Khorchide, Professor for Islamic theology at the University of Münster.
- Sead Kolašinac a Bosnian professional footballer
- Mojib Latif, Professor, meteorologist and oceanographer
- Johann von Leers was a member of the Waffen SS in Nazi Germany, where he was also a professor known for his anti-Jewish polemics
- Jamal Malik, Professor of Islamic Studies and chair of Religious Studies, University of Erfurt, Germany
- Shkodran Mustafi a German professional footballer
- Adam Neuser was a popular pastor and theologian
- Omid Nouripour an Iranian-German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag
- Susanne Osthoff a German archaeologist
- Cem Özdemir a German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag since 2013 and between 1994 and 2002 and of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2009
- Mesut Özil, German Soccer player
- Aydan Özoğuz a German politician and a member of the German parliament Bundestag
- Pierre Vogel (born 1978), also known as Abu Hamza (Arabic: أبو حمزة), German Salafi Islamist preacher and former professional boxer
- Linda Wenzel, a German schoolgirl who went missing in 2016 after converting to Islam and joining Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
- Islamic Centre Hamburg
- Islamic dress in Europe
- List of mosques in Germany
- Religion in Germany
- Turks in Germany
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- Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Deutschland
- Links: Islam in Germany
- Germany: European Muslim Union with its offices in Granada, Spain, Bonn, Istanbul and Sarajevo
- A German Initiative to Bridge the Gap