Islam in Germany
Owing to labour migration in the 1960s and several waves of political refugees since the 1970s, Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

has become a visible religion in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, there are 4.3 million Muslims (5.4% of the population).
Of these, 1.9 million are German citizens (2.4%). As of 2006, about 15,000 converts are of German ancestry.


Islam is the largest minority religion
Minority religion
A minority religion is a religion held by a minority of the population of a country, state, or region. Minority religions may be subject to stigma or discrimination. An example of a stigma is using the term cult with its extremely negative connotations for certain new religious movements...

 in the country, with the Protestant and Roman Catholic confessions being the majority religions. The large majority of Muslims in Germany are of Turkish
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 origin (63,2%), followed by smaller groups from Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, countries of the former Yugoslavia
Former Yugoslavia
The former Yugoslavia is a term used to describe the present day states which succeeded the collapse of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia....

, Arab countries
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

. Most Muslims live in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and the larger cities of former West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

. However, unlike in most other European countries, sizeable Muslim communities exist in some rural regions of Germany, especially Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

 and parts of Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 and North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia
North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous state of Germany, with four of the country's ten largest cities. The state was formed in 1946 as a merger of the northern Rhineland and Westphalia, both formerly part of Prussia. Its capital is Düsseldorf. The state is currently run by a coalition of the...

. Owing to the lack of labour immigration before 1989, there are only very few Muslims in the former East Germany
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

. The majority of Muslims in Germany are Sunnis, at 75%. There are some members of the Shia (7%) and mostly from Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and some members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

 (1%), most of whom are of Pakistani origin. Most Turkish Muslims are Sunnis, but between a fifth and a quarter are believed to be Alevis. The Alevis are a heterodox religious and cultural community officially not recognized by the Turkish state, who account for between a fifth and a quarter of the population (more than 15 million people) in their native Turkey. Most Alevites embrace tolerance and secularism, which helps them to integrate into mainstream German society much better than other belief systems.

The Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 comprise a minority of Germany's Muslims, numbering some 60,000 members in more than 200 communities as of 2004.


Muslims first came to Germany as part of the diplomatic, military and economic relations between Germany and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in the 18th century. Twenty Muslim soldiers served under Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of Prussia
Frederick William I of the House of Hohenzollern, was the King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg from 1713 until his death...

, at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1745, Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II of Prussia
Frederick II was a King in Prussia and a King of Prussia from the Hohenzollern dynasty. In his role as a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, he was also Elector of Brandenburg. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel...

 established a unit of Muslims in the Prussian army called the "Muslim Riders" and consisting mainly of Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

, Albanians
Albanians are a nation and ethnic group native to Albania and neighbouring countries. They speak the Albanian language. More than half of all Albanians live in Albania and Kosovo...

 and Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

. 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
World Islamic Congress
The World Islamic Congress convened in Jerusalem from the 7 December until 1:30 p.m. on the 17 December 1931. It was attended by 130 delegates from 22 Muslim countries...

 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 rise of Nazism in the country did not target Muslims. Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 repeatedly expressed the view that Islam would have been much more compatible to the "Germanic races" than "meek" and "feeble" Christianity:
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Mohammad Amin al-Husayni
Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el-Husseini was a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in the British Mandate of Palestine. From as early as 1920, in order to secure the independence of Palestine as an Arab state he actively opposed Zionism, and was implicated as a leader of a violent riot...

 energetically recruited Muslims for the SS (Schutzstaffel
The Schutzstaffel |Sig runes]]) was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS under Heinrich Himmler's command was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during World War II...

), 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.

The Islamic Institut Ma’ahad-ul-Islam was founded in 1942, during World War 2. (It is now known under the Name "Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv-Deutschland")

After the West German Government invited foreign workers (g: "Gastarbeiter") in 1961, the figure sharply rose to currently 4.3 Million within 2 decades (most of them Turkish from the Rural Region of Anatolia in Southeast Turkey). They are sometimes called a "parallel society" within ethnic Germans.


Only a minority of the Muslims residing in Germany are members of religious associations. The ones with the highest numerical strength are:
  • Diyanet İşleri Türk İslam Birliği
    Diyanet Isleri Türk Islam Birligi
    The Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs , is one of the largest Islamic organisations in Germany. It was founded in 1984 as a branch of the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Ankara. The headquarters are in Cologne-Ehrenfeld....

    : German branch of the Turkish Presidency for Religious Affairs, Cologne
    Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

  • Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş
    Millî Görüs
    Millî Görüş has been called one of "the leading Turkish diaspora organizations in Europe". Founded in 1969, the movement claimed to have "87,000 members across Europe, including 50,000 in Germany," as of 2005...

    : close to the Islamist Saadet Partisi in Turkey, Kerpen near Cologne
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft Jamaat un-Nur: German branch of the Risale-i Nur Society (Said Nursi
    Said Nursî
    Bediuzzaman Said Nursî ,commonly known as Bediüzzaman , which means "The Wonder of the Age" was a Muslim scholar who wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur'anic commentary exceeding six thousand pages. . He was born in Nurs, a village in the Ottoman Bitlis Province in eastern Anatolia. He...

  • Verband der islamischen Kulturzentren: German branch of the conservative Süleymancı sect in Turkey, Cologne
  • Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland organization of Arab Muslims
    Arab Muslims
    Arab Muslims are adherents of the religion of Islam who identify linguistically, culturally, or genealogically as Arabs. They greatly outnumber other ethnic groups in the Middle East. Muslims who are not Arabs are called mawali by Arab Muslims....

     close to the Muslim Brotherhood
    Muslim Brotherhood
    The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

    , Frankfurt
    Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

  • Verband der Islamischen Gemeinden der Bosniaken: Bosnian Muslims, Kamp-Lintfort near Duisburg
    - History :A legend recorded by Johannes Aventinus holds that Duisburg, was built by the eponymous Tuisto, mythical progenitor of Germans, ca. 2395 BC...

  • Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Deutschland
    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
    The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...

    : 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 the Pakistani origin.
  • Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv-Deutschland e.V. : Documentary of Islamic Foundation-writings since 1739. The Islamic Institut was founded in 1942 (Sooner called Ma’ahad-ul-Islam Institut)

Furthermore there are the following umbrella organisations:
  • Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, domimated by the "Islamische Gemeinschaft in Deutschland" and the "Islamisches Zentrum Aachen
    Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

  • Islamrat in Deutschland, dominated by Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş and its suborganisations

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
Hizb ut-Tahrir
Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international Sunni. pan-Islamic political organisation but keeps it open for all including shias,some of its beliefs are against sunni school of thought, whose goal is for all Muslim countries to unify as an Islamic state or caliphate ruled by Islamic law and with a caliph...

" and the so called "Caliphate State" founded by Cemalettin Kaplan and later led by his son Metin Kaplan
Metin Kaplan
Metin Kaplan is the leader of the radical Islamist movement Kalifatsstaat which is based in Cologne, Germany....



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
Islamic extremism
Islamic extremism refers to two related and partially overlapping but also distinct aspects of extremist interpretations and pursuits of Islamic ideology:...

, and partly more generally due to the difficulties of multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

 and fears of Überfremdung
Überfremdung , literally "over-foreignization", is a German-language term used in politics to suggest an excess of immigration. The word is compounded from über meaning "over" or "overly" and fremd meaning "foreign".-Political uses:...


In Education System

One such issue concerns the wearing of the head-scarf
The word "hijab" or "'" refers to both the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women and modest Muslim styles of dress in general....

 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
Separation of church and state
The concept of the separation of church and state refers to the distance in the relationship between organized religion and the nation state....

. 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
Islam in France
Islam is the second most widely practiced religion in France by number of worshippers, with an estimated total of 5 to 10 percent of the national population.-Statistics:...

, there are no laws against the wearing of head-scarves by students.

In the German federal states with the exception of Bremen
Bremen (state)
The Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is the smallest of Germany's 16 states. A more informal name, but used in some official contexts, is Land Bremen .-Geography:...

, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and Brandenburg
Brandenburg is one of the sixteen federal-states of Germany. It lies in the east of the country and is one of the new federal states that were re-created in 1990 upon the reunification of the former West Germany and East Germany. The capital is Potsdam...

, lessons of religious education
Religious education
In secular usage, religious education is the teaching of a particular religion and its varied aspects —its beliefs, doctrines, rituals, customs, rites, and personal roles...

 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. However, efforts to resolve this issue in cooperation with existing Islamic organisations are hampered by the fact that none of them can be considered as representative of the whole Muslim community.

Construction of Mosques

The construction of mosque
A mosque is a place of worship for followers of Islam. The word is likely to have entered the English language through French , from Portuguese , from Spanish , and from Berber , ultimately originating in — . The Arabic word masjid literally means a place of prostration...

s 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.

Fears of Islamic fundamentalism

Fears 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. Also the various confrontations between Islamic religious law (Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

) 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.

Banning of IHH Germany

In July 2010, Germany has outlawed the Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V.
Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V.
The Turkish-German association Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V. or IHH Germany, is an international aid association based in Frankfurt with branches in Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Austria.In July 2010, Germany has outlawed the Internationale Humanitaere Hilfsorganisation...

 (IHH Germany), saying it has used donations to support Hamas
Hamas is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist political party that governs the Gaza Strip. Hamas also has a military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades...

, 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
Thomas de Maizière
Karl Ernst Thomas de Maizière is a German politician , currently serving as the Minister of Defence in the Second Cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel....

 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.

See also

  • List of mosques in Germany
  • Islamic Centre Hamburg
    Islamic Centre Hamburg
    The Islamic Centre Hamburg is one of the oldest Shia mosques in Germany and Europe. Established in Hamburg, in northern Germany, in the late 1950s by a group of Iranian emigrants and business people it rapidly developed into one of the leading Shia centres in the Western world.Many leading...

  • Religion in Germany
    Religion in Germany
    Christianity is the largest religion in Germany with 54,765,265 adherents as of the end of 2006, down to 51.5 million adherents as of 2008. The second largest religion is Islam with 3.3 million adherents followed by Buddhism and Judaism...

  • Islamic dress controversy in Europe
  • Turks in Germany

External links

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