The Muslim Minority in Germany. Mosques as a place of radicalisation and integration

Essay, 2017

16 Pages, Grade: 10


Table of Content

Table of Content








On the 19th December 2016, Tunisian national Anis Amri drove deliberately with a hijacked truck into the Christmas Market at the Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring more than 50 people. In the morning he had been visiting the Mosque Fussilet 33, which according to the police was a meeting point for Islamists (“Berliner Moscheeverein”, 2017). The terror attack triggered a public outcry and led to an increasing securitisation of Islam in public debates. Mosques as a contact point - both for Muslims in Germany and for those which come as migrants - thus form a special point of interest to be able to understand which values and beliefs influence Muslims in Germany.

To this end, this paper investigates the potential of Mosques for both radicalisation and integration. It firstly analyses the factors that facilitate radicalisation, and secondly offers ideas on how to use mosques for integration, particularly pointing out the special responsibility of Imams. To offer a well-balanced analysis, this paper employs quantitative sources such as official data by the Ministry of Migration and Refugees and qualitative sources including speeches held at the German Islamic Conference and the work of Islamic Studies scholars.

This paper argues that Mosques are of great influence as they form a contact point for Muslims in Germany and offer guidelines and lifestyle advice. Mosques thus have great potential: as a place for radicalisation but also as a place for integration. Mosques can be used by Salafists and radical returnees from fighting to promote a radical agenda. To use the ‘positive’ potential for integration, the role of the imam is of particular significance, here it is essential that the imam is integrated both into his home and host society, in order to function as a bridge. Furthermore, the potential of women has to be further expanded, to enable them to take on more active roles in shaping the community.

This paper is structured as followed: firstly, an overview is given on the emergence of Islam in Germany, the organisation and the role of Mosques and the function of Imams. In the analytical section, the potential for radicalisation is first explored, followed by an outline of the potential for integration, including ideas of how to fully use this positive potential.


Islam in Germany

Islam has become a visible religion in Germany due to labour migration as well as various waves of political refugees since the 1970s (Bahrampour et al., 2010, p. 18). In 1962, an agreement was struck between Germany and Turkey in response to German labour shortages and Turkish labour surpluses. The agreement held that Turkey would provide Gastarbeiter (guestworkers) to Germany. This is seen as the first step in the immigration of hundreds of thousands of Turks to Germany (Helicke, 2002, pp. 178-179). The agreement was based on the understanding of a boundary between German and Turkish identity. While Turks would “temporarily” reside in Germany, they would ultimately return to Turkey. However, many decided to stay after the agreement terminated, as they as well as their families had integrated into German society. Thus, Germany’s demographics changed permanently (Ibid, p. 179). The reasons for migration have changed over the course of time. The labour migrants from Turkey and also North Africa defined the socioeconomic picture of Muslims until the 1980s. In the course of the 1980s a large number Muslim refugees arrived, with their families joining subsequently (Bayrampour et al., 2010, p. 18).

The official numbers compelled by the Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (Federal Ministry for Migration and Refugees [ BAMF ]) estimate that by the end of 2015, 4.4 – 4.7 million Muslims lived in Germany, meaning that 5.4% to 5.7% percent of Germany’s total populations identifies as Muslim (2016a, p. 5). In absolute numbers, Germany ranks 2nd after France in the European Union in terms of the size of the Muslim population, whereas Germany ranks fifth in size in terms of the Muslim population as a share of total population behind France, Belgium, Austria and the Netherlands (Pew Research Center, 2011). The extrapolation of the BAMF additionally shows that from May 2011 until the end of 2015 about 1.2 million Muslim men and women came to Germany, which means that every fourth Muslim lives comparatively briefly in Germany. This is in connection with the migration crisis in 2014 and 2015, including many from Muslim-origin countries. The proportion of new immigrants to all Muslims is 27.3% (BAMF, 2016a, p. 5). Below is a figure which shows the development of the number of Muslims in Germany from 1945 to 2009, based on the numbers given by the BAMF. Here, the number of Muslims is already 4.2 million in 2009 as the BAMF changed their method of extrapolation in 2015, nevertheless, the graph gives an overview of the rapid growth of Muslims during the last 50 years (BAMF, 2016b).

Figure 1: Development of the number of Muslims in Germany from 1945 - 2009

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Adapted from Statista (2016)

The regional origins of the Muslim population in Germany have become much more heterogeneous in the last decades: with origins in 49 different countries. Nevertheless the dominant group is still from Turkish descent (Bahrampour et al., 2010, p. 18).

Figure 2: Number of Muslims in Germany as of 31 December 2015 by country of origin

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Adapted from the Ministry for Mig ration and Refugees (2016a, p. 31)

A recent study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung (2017) outlines that most Muslims in Germany consider themselves religious: with 40% describing themselves as “very religious” and 50 percent identifying as “rather religious”. Thus, Muslims in Germany are far more religious than the rest of the German population (Ibid, p. 8).

Functions of Mosques and the role of the Imam in Germany

Generally, Mosques are prayer rooms, which are prayed in five times a day and where the Friday prayer is performed. In Germany, mosques have taken over functions more similar to those of German churches. Like in churches, celebrations such as weddings and funerals are organised, as many migrants come without families and can thus not organise these events by themselves. Mosques also function as places for social gatherings where the mother tongue is practiced and the Koran is taught (Hibaoui, 2011, p. 52).

The building of mosques in Germany is organised by various Muslim associations which have been developing since the 1970s. In Germany there are about 2,500 Muslim communities of which 2,000 identify as a Mosque association (Schreiber, 2017, p. 32). Due to the number of Muslim communities, it is estimated that more than 2,000 Mosques exist in Germany. As most Muslims in Germany are Turkish, so are the majority of Mosques. The largest umbrella association in Germany is DITIB (Türkisch-Islamische Union der Anstalt für Religion e.V.) which was founded in 1984. It represents a version of Islam that focuses on the official lay version of Islam found in Turkey (Deutsche Islam Konferenz, 2010).

The spiritual leader of a community is known as the imam. In an Islamic community, theoretically any male Muslim who has the necessary qualifications can be chosen as the leader. The role of the imam includes leadership and performance functions, of which prayer is the main task (Hibaoui, 2011, p. 52). The Friday Prayer is of special importance for the imam. The function of this prayer is to inform people and to interpret a given topic. In general, the language of the community determines the language of the prayer, so for example Turkish in Turkish mosques, Bosnian and Bosnian mosques and Arabic in Arabic mosques. Usually basic principles of Islam are explained and social-cultural problems of mosque visitors in Germany are discussed, which also includes psychosocial counselling of the faithful (Ibid, p. 55).


Salafism as a potentially dangerous influence

The Mosque visited by Annis Amri was closed down shortly after the terrorist attack in Berlin as it had collected donations for terrorist groups, recruited fighters for Syria and glorified terrorism and a violent jihad (“Radikalisierung”, 2017). Thus, it can be seen as a sphere of radicalisation. Unfortunately, Fussilet 33 is not the only example in which the negative potential of Mosques as a contact point for Muslims was used. The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution [ BfV ]) spoke in 2016 of at least 90 Islamist-Salafist mosques in Germany "who have become active in terms of migration movements" (2017a).


Excerpt out of 16 pages


The Muslim Minority in Germany. Mosques as a place of radicalisation and integration
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
653 KB
Islam, Mosque, radicalisation, integration, Anis Amri, Imam, BAMF, DITIB, Diyanet, jihadists, Deutsche Islam Konferenz, prevention, Moschee, Inside Islam, Constantin Schreiber
Quote paper
Inga von der Stein (Author), 2017, The Muslim Minority in Germany. Mosques as a place of radicalisation and integration, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: The Muslim Minority in Germany. Mosques as a place of radicalisation and integration

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free