Before the 1920s, Islam was a strange phenomenon in Germany. Until then, only a few Muslims came to the German states; around the 17th century as a prisoner of war in the course of the so-called Turkish wars. Interest in Islam as a religion and the cultures it shaped, especially in the Middle East and North Africa as well as the Ottoman Empire, grew in educated circles from the 16th century and experienced an upswing in the 18th century thanks to the Enlightenment. Within academic research, the number of corresponding studies has grown since the 19th century, which at the end of the century led to the establishment of Islamic studies as an independent humanities subject. The acquisition of colonies in Africa and the relations between the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire also gave rise to a practical political interest in Islam.
As foreigners, Muslims in Germany were initially mostly students and diplomats; Muslim prisoners of war also came to Germany during the First World War. In the 1920s, small numbers of Germans converted to Islam for the first time and the Ahmadija missionary movement was able to gain a foothold in Germany. In 1922 the “Islamic Community Berlin” was founded; Its approximately 1,800 members of various origins included 20 German Muslims. In 1925, the Ahmadija community had the large mosque built on Fehrbelliner Platz in Berlin. After the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany (1949) the number of Muslims increased due to the immigration of citizens from Turkey, Tunisia and Yugoslavia who were employed as foreign workers (“Guest workers”) arrived in the Federal Republic very quickly.
Today (according to various statistics) between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims live in Germany; Among them, Muslims with Turkish roots (some of them already in the third generation living in Germany) make up the largest group with around 2.4 to 2.7 million. According to their regional origin, they are followed by Muslims from the southern European countries of Bosnia, Bulgaria and Albania (around 469,000–606,000) and from the Middle East (292,000–370,000). The number of Germans converted to Islam (often as wives of native Muslims) is difficult to determine, but estimates suggest that it is 50,000. A third of all Muslims live in North Rhine-Westphalia. The Muslims are predominantly Sunnis. The majority of Shiite Muslims living in Germany are the around 480,000–552,000 Alevis that have their roots in Anatolia.
According to wholevehicles.com, around 90% of Muslims in Germany can be rated as religious, 41% of them even as highly religious. Compliance with the most important religious duties is differentiated according to age and gender. While men go to mosques more often than women, women adhere to the fasting regulations in the month of Ramadan more than men. The acceptance of the food regulations is generally very high.
In accordance with the variously differentiated structure of Islam, Muslims do not have a uniform representation in Germany either. The establishment of the »Coordination Council of Muslims« (KRM) in 2007 can be seen as an attempt to create one. In the legally independent mosque associations, Muslims have mostly organized themselves according to ethnic-linguistic ties. As Islamic umbrella organizations, whose membership does not represent the majority of Muslims overall, the following should be mentioned: the almost 900 mosque associations comprehensive »Turkish-Islamic Union of the Institute for Religion e. V. «(DITIB; in its principles follows the Turkish state religious policy), the Europe-wide operating» Islamic Community Milli Görüş «(IGMG; as the second largest association of Turkish Muslims in Germany, representing over 300 mosque associations and a. maintains its own social institutions), the »Central Council of Muslims in Germany e. V. «(ZMD; due to its public relations work, often regarded as the only representation of Muslims in Germany), the» Islamrat für die Bundes Republik Deutschland e. V. “(representing Turkish, Bosnian and African Muslims) and the” Association of Islamic Cultural Centers e. V. «(VIKZ; going back to the» Islamische Kulturzentrum Köln eV «founded in 1973, today representing around 300 mosque associations and providing religious and social support). In March 2007 four of the five associations – DITIB, ZMD, Islamrat and VIKZ – founded the »Coordination Council of Muslims« (KRM), who sees himself as the representation of the majority of Muslims organized in mosque communities in Germany, who wants to protect their common interests and to be their central contact person vis-à-vis the state and the public. The »Islamic Community Milli Görüş« (IGMG) is affiliated to the KRM through the »Islamic Council for the Federal Republic of Germany. V. «to which it belongs as a member association. In addition to the five major umbrella organizations, there are numerous Islamic associations and communities that are oriented towards regional traditions or are linked to certain brotherhoods, which operate largely independently, but can join the newly established coordination council. Islamic associations in Germany have their own German and foreign language media and are well represented on the Internet. They also regularly organize public events; z. For example, for several years now, the “Open Mosque Day” has been held every year on October 3rd. It has also developed at various levels of the Christian-Islamic dialogue develops, even if – as elsewhere in Europe – it is still exposed to tensions and strains.
In everyday life, Muslims in Germany have built their own religious life. This includes in particular the construction and maintenance of prayer rooms and mosques for church services and religious education, but also as centers of educational and social work and the establishment of Islamic grave fields where Muslims can be buried according to their rituals. The possibility of slaughter is also important for the religious life of Muslims of animals on a basis protected by state law. Social areas of conflict arise when individual Muslims insist on Islamic traditionalist and fundamentalist positions against the state legal framework that is binding for all citizens; Recent examples are related to the public school system: refusal of girls to attend physical education classes and school trips by Muslim parents; the so-called »headscarf dispute« (1998–2004; state and church). Regardless of these examples, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Germany see themselves as part of German society with their own religious identity.