Integration von Zuwanderern. Der Imam betet
Thomas Kunsch

Press Release, , : Muslims in Germany have close ties to society and state

Gütersloh, January 8, 2015. The attitudes and lifestyles of Muslims living in Germany very much reflect the social values prevalent in the Federal Republic, a fact little recognized by the general population. Most Germans are becoming increasingly averse to Islam. The result is exclusion and hardship for the country’s Muslims.


Gütersloh – January 8, 2015. Most of the four million Muslims living in

Germany are part of the country’s social fabric. Their attitudes and

viewpoints very much reflect the Federal Republic’s basic values, such

as a belief in democracy and diversity. On the other hand, many of the

country’s non-Muslims have unfavorable views of Islam and its adherents.

Those are just some of the findings from a special study on Muslims in

Germany carried out as part of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Religion

Monitor project.   The study shows that Muslims in Germany have close

ties to the state and society. For example, 90 percent of highly

religious Muslims are very supportive of democracy as a form of

government. Nine out of ten of the study’s respondents, moreover, have

contact with non-Muslims in their free time. One in two even has as at

least as much contact with non-Muslims as with Muslims.

The majority of Muslims in Germany are devout and open-minded at the

same time. The study shows that 63 percent of those adherents of Islam

who consider themselves fairly or very religious say they re-examine

their religious attitudes at regular intervals. Roughly 60 percent of

those respondents say they support same-sex marriage, something that

also applies to 40 percent of highly religious Muslims who say they

rarely look at their religious principles. In Turkey, in contrast, the

country of origin for most of Germany’s Muslims, only one-third of

highly religious Muslims say they regularly re-examine their religious

beliefs. Only 12 percent of highly religious Muslims in Turkey say they

are in favor of same-sex marriage.

The fact that Muslims in Germany feel a connection to the country

and its values is not, however, helping overcome the negative attitudes

others have towards Islam – on the contrary. According to a

representative survey recently carried out on behalf of the Bertelsmann

Stiftung, 57 percent of Germany’s non-Muslims perceive Islam as a

threat. Only 53 percent felt that way 2012. “Muslims now consider

Germany home,” says Yasemin El-Menouar, Islam expert at the Bertelsmann

Stiftung. “However, they find themselves confronted with a negative

image that apparently prevails because of a minority of radical


Overall, 61 percent of Germans say that Islam is

not compatible with life in the western world. In 2012, 52 percent

expressed that view. In addition, 40 percent say they do not feel at

home in their own country because of the country’s purported

Islamization. One-quarter feel that Germany should no longer permit

Muslims to immigrate.  

These attitudes are not limited to the

margins of German society. Neither political orientation, educational

level nor social status has a significant effect on what Germans think

of Islam. The more crucial factors are age and personal contact with

Muslims.   Of those respondents over the age of 54, 61 percent

feel threatened by Islam.

Of those younger than 25, only 39 percent

express the same view. Fear is also greatest in those areas where few

Muslims live. In the state of North Rhine–Westphalia, for example, home

to one-third of Germany’s Muslims, 46 percent of the respondents say

they feel threatened. In Thuringia and Saxony, home to relatively few

Muslims, 70 percent feel threatened. Even though the vast majority of

Germans – 85 percent – say they are very tolerant of other religions,

this seems not to be the case when it comes to Islam.  


to El-Menouar, despite the fact that Germany’s various religious

communities are increasingly living together in harmony, the danger

exists that a large part of the population is becoming more intolerant

of Islam. “Muslims and non-Muslims in Germany have a lot in common,” she

says. “That could serve as the basis for feeling ‘we’re in this

together.’ For that to happen, however, more people will have to

recognize and respect Muslims and their religion.”    

About the study:

Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Religion Monitor examines how religion

influences social cohesion in religiously and culturally diverse

societies. Its findings are based on representative surveys carried out

at regular intervals in selected countries around the world. On behalf

of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, five researchers analyzed data from the

2013 Religion Monitor to better understand the attitudes of Muslims

living in Germany. The study’s authors are Prof. Dirk Halm and Dr.

Martina Sauer of the Center for Turkish Studies and Integration Research

(ZfTI), Prof. Kai Hafez and Sabrina Schmidt of the University of Erfurt

and Prof. Richard Traunmüller of the University of Frankfurt. In order

to compare the data from 2013 to attitudes today, research institute TNS

Emnid conducted a follow-up survey on behalf of the Bertelsmann

Stiftung at the end of November 2014 to assess how Germans currently

feel about Islam.