Germany, with approx. 80 million inhabitants, is home more or less to 3,5 million Muslims. 3,5 Million the problem starts with statistics, because there are none. Officially, only members of the two big churches are registrated to ensure the payment of taxes to those churches. All others are not counted.
So, where does this number come from? Oh, easy. The German authorities just take the number of citizens of muslim coutries and count these. There you are. They count the Christians from Irak or Palestine, or a Jew from Marocco, Hindu from Pakistan as well as Alevi or Ahmadi.
But this does not mean that the number is too big.
Because they ignore all Muslims with a german Passport, be they nationalized or born german converts. Nobody knows how many they are. Also, Muslims from, lets say, Russia, or South Africa, or India they are not considered.
This is one of the starting points of official ignorance. This is also one reason why in Germany muslim has become a synonym of foreigner. The other reason is the German law on naturalization, that blocked effectivly most of the immigrants from becoming german citizen. In 1999 the new government tried to change this result was a massive campaign against this new law and the result was a new law that was not much better than the old. Recently but, in some of the federal states, the governments try to build new obstacles especially for muslims by requiring tests that contain questions that, answered correctly by a devout muslim (i.e.: what would you do if your son became homosexual) would give a reason to denay his application to become german.
Inofficial counts say there are 2000 2200 masjids or prayer rooms in Germany. This number contains real beautiful buildings like the Yavuz-Selim-masjid in Mannheim as well as small, dark rooms in basements or backyards. Many germans would say this is too much already. As soon as it is known that a muslim assocation is interested in some plot or building or has submitted an application in order to install a prayer room in some place, you can hear the neigbourhood going wild. The press looks inside the assiciation there is not one they would not find fault with and adds to the concert. Mayor and administration come under pressure. If the application has no problems, they will try to find one or maybe change some regulations as to the use of the plot in that area. So installing a new prayer room needs not only muslims and money, but also a lot of knowledge of architectual rules and building laws and patience. Alhamdulillah, still new places are being opened, due to the german laws that consider also masjids as religiously used buildings although at least in one city I know the administration wanted to treat the prayer room as a meeting room and demand the double number of parking lots.
Most of the masjids do not have minarets. Some have, but only in a very few places adhan can be called it is the nightmare of the average german to be exposed to the sound of adhan!
Prayer if not in masjid or at home, you can have a number of nice ideas of your environment presented to you. Praying to fixed times is unconceivable to most of the Germans around. Asking for a clean place at your work in order to perform prayer can make you top the list of people to be fired at the next opportunity. In schools, there can be lots and lots of empty rooms but if you ask one of these beeing alloted for prayer, scandal. Students praying in a corner of the universtiy library can be told never to do so again. In hospitals you can find chapels with crosses and so called silent rooms, but there is a cross, too.
do not ask what German school books tell about Islam. It is not worth mentioning. Although a thourough study was made by a professor from Cologne University many years ago, most of the things he critizized can be found in place till today.
Religious education is, according to the German Constitution, the childrens right and shall be taught in accordance with the religious communities, i.e. they decide what is being taught and have the right to chose the teachers. But not for the muslim teachers. For longtime there was no religious education for them at all, meaning that during these
they would either run free, or getting some supplementary lesson, or just being told to attend protestant or catholic education classes. In order to abolish the teaching of Islam in the masjid-run classes in afternoons or on weekends, now everywhere new ideas turn up how to teach Islam to the muslim children but, unconstitutionally, without the influence of the muslim associations and the muslim community. It means, the German states decide on what is Islam, what will be taught and of course, they will chose the teachers that do not need to be muslim.
Teachers. Recently in Nordrhein-Westfalia (the biggest of the states that form the Federal Republic, and the one with the biggest muslim population) it was said in order to
. Integraton, more teachers coming from immigrant families should be employed their number is very low. Nearly at the same time, the parliament of the same state passed a law to prevent muslim ladies wearing hijab work as teachers
This was the last in a series of similar laws passed by the federate states since 2004. The states that did not pass laws like this yet are those with a significant low muslim population, where no muslim lady would wish to work especially in the five states of the former DDR.
The muslim community already heard enough about this and the number of muslim young women studying in order to become teacher is approaching zero at least those who wear hijab. They may do so in University, but would know that they could never work in this profession.
Private schools? Muslim private schools, where they could work? Oh, you are dreaming. The German school system is naturally hostile to private schools in general. The rate is very low due to the fact that it needs a lot of money being collected first and the procedure for permission is a big problem it can be very lengthy, but the building must be rented or acquired before, so it means a lot of costs before you can ask anything from the parents. As to muslim schools, only two primary schools were founded till today; one of them was closed under a very thin pretext in summer 2005. Inofficially it was said that, as the number of pupils is allover dropping frightfully, new permission was not in the interest of the school authority.
Some of the parents got told that they might lose their residence permit because they sent their children to an islamic school...
Especially in Bavaria many Muslims, although having been living there for many years peacefully, get threatened with losing this residence permit, if they do not agree to spy on others.
Sorry if my english is not so good. I noticed Germany is hardly ever discussed here, and I am often astonished that all that happens here is hardly known in the muslim communities abroad. So I tried to write this text for information.