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%). As of 2006, about 15,000 Muslims are converts of ethnic German ancestry. 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 about half of the 4.6 million people from the Muslim World aren't 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.
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 Community 35,000-45,000
- Sufis 10,000
- Salafis 8,350
- 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.
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland: German branch of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim 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 Muslim 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.
- Liberal-Islamischer Bund LIB: Liberal association, founded by Lamya Kaddor.
- Muslimisches Forum Deutschland MFD: Forum for Muslims and non-Muslims to promote Islamic reforms, founded among others by Mouhanad Khorchide and Ahmad Mansour.
- Verband Demokratisch-Europäischer Muslime VDEM: Association founded by Bassam Tibi.
- Ibn Rushd Prize for Freedom of Thought.
- 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 difficulties of multiculturalism and fears of Überfremdung.
In the education system
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One such issue concerns the wearing of the head-scarf by teachers in schools and universities. The right to practice one's religion, claimed 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. However, unlike in France, there are no laws against the wearing of head-scarves by students.
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. However, the problem still exists 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 occasionally arouses hostile 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
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).
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.
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
- Denis Cuspert a German militant Islamist and former rapper
- 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
- 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
- Ahmed Siddiqui, a suspected terrorist
- 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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