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Islam and identity in Germany

Islam and identity in Germany



Europe Report N°181                                                                                                              14 March 2007


ISLAM and identity IN GERMANY

Executive Summary and Recommendations

The experience of Germany, with the largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France, shows that a significant Muslim population at the heart of Europe need not produce either violent Islamist groups or destabilising social unrest. Politicians now acknowledge it is a country of immigration, with a large and permanent Turkish and Muslim component. Citizenship is at last on offer, if still under difficult conditions. Neither political nor jihadi currents of Islamism have had much appeal for those of Turkish origin, three quarters of the Muslim population, and the handful of terrorist suspects that have been found have been either German converts or dual nationals of Arab origin. But there are issues that must still be addressed more effectively if the genuine integration that will ensure social peace and stability is to be created. While the political system has been preoccupied with finding, or creating, a single Islamic interlocutor for itself, more important are practical issues, especially education and jobs, which matter to the many still disadvantaged among the more than two million of Turkish origin and the hundreds of thousands of others of Muslim background.

This report is part of a series undertaken by Crisis Group on Islamism generally, and its impact in Europe. The German case is heavily influenced by the fact that the Muslim population is dominated by individuals from an avowedly secular country – Turkey – that has experience with democratic norms, and that religion for this population is only one element of identification. While the report discusses jihadi elements, greater attention is given to issues more relevant to the fundamental question of what remains to be done if this population is to be truly integrated, as Germans now agree it should be.

The relationship between Germany’s largely Turkish Muslim population and the German national community was until recently conditioned by the political class’s refusal to acknowledge that the “guestworkers” were there to stay. German rather than Turkish attitudes were the primary factor precluding effective integration. Turks’ own uncertainty over whether they would eventually return “home” and a tendency toward linguistic and social segregation were reinforced for two generations by German administrative practices. Since 2000, however, German outlook and policy have changed; the reality of immigration and permanent settlement is now recognised and a new willingness, in principle, to extend citizenship has developed. However, the view that integration should precede naturalisation the requirement that Turks and other Muslims should first integrate and demonstrate their “German-ness” before they may acquire that citizenship remains a formidable brake on the process.

It is unrealistic to expect those of Turkish origin to become fully integrated into German society while citizenship and full participation in public life are withheld. By placing almost all the onus of adjustment and evolution on the immigrant population, this unrealistic expectation tends to encourage the authorities and political class to evade their responsibilities to facilitate this evolution and inhibits the emergence of a political party consensus on the principles that should underlie the integration process.

The emphasis on ideological correctness, illustrated by the proposed use of demanding naturalisation questionnaires requiring applicants to agree with current German public opinion on certain questions, leads the authorities to stigmatise as inherently un-German immigrant opinion that subscribes even to entirely non-violent varieties of Islamist thinking. It also entails intensive surveillance of certain organisations and their members even if those organisations are law-abiding. This policing of thought is experienced by Turks and other Muslims as discriminatory, hostile in spirit and frequently provocative in practice.

This complicates consultations between the authorities and Muslim religious leaders on management of Muslim religious life and practice. So, however, does the Turkish government’s effort to monopolise the representation of Muslims in Germany, through an organisation, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB), that is legally a German association but is in reality a satellite apparatus of the Turkish state and an instrument of its attempt to guard against the possible growth of opposition in the Turkish diaspora. This is in conflict with the plural nature of the German Muslim population, notably the presence of Arab Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds as well as supporters of alternative currents of Turkish Islamism represented in particular by the Islamic Community of the National Vision (Milli Görüş, IGMG) movement. The dilemma for the German authorities is that they need Ankara’s cooperation in certain practical matters but cannot afford to yield to DİTİB’s monopolist pretensions without prejudice to the integration of all legitimate (constitutional) currents of religious and political opinion within the immigrant population.

The authorities need to ensure at both federal and provincial (Länder) levels that whatever institutional arrangements are made for consulting religious leaders these respect the plurality of outlooks and organisations that exist, but also that such consultations do not exceed their proper remit: consensual management of Muslim religious practice. It is primarily for the parties – not a government-sponsored religious forum – to provide political representation for Turkish Germans on social, economic and political issues, and they need to raise their game. They should not just represent them as Turks or Muslims but as members of German society with a variety of interests. They need to address general questions of special importance to that population, notably educational opportunities, but also need to establish their relevance by maintaining a grass-roots organisational presence in Turkish neighbourhoods and involving Turks (as well as other Muslims) in mainstream party debates and activities.

Success or failure in such political efforts will ultimately be the primary determinant in whether Germany continues to enjoy social peace as the integration process proceeds. And the course of that process over a decade will in turn inevitably have much to say about the attitude Germany adopts to several of Europe’s vital security issues, including Turkey’s application for EU membership and efforts to secure Middle Eastern peace.


To the German National Political Parties in General:

1.              Promote integration of Turks and other Muslims into the national political community by providing effective representation of their interests, including social and political interests they share with non-Muslim citizens.

2.              Maintain and where necessary establish party organisation and activity in predominantly Turkish and other Muslim neighbourhoods.

3.              Take care that intra-party forums that may exist specifically for Turkish and/or Muslim members do not segregate them from the wider party membership by facilitating their participation in mainstream party activities and debates.

4.              Avoid any temptation to use the debate over Turkey’s accession to the EU to stir up anti-foreigner sentiment for domestic political purposes but instead encourage Turkish Germans to take a positive part in that debate.

To the CDU and CSU Parties in Particular:

5.              Recognise that effective integration cannot be achieved on the basis of unrealistic or unreasonable requirements for naturalisation of Germans of immigrant origin.

To the Federal Government:

6.              Permanently upgrade the post of commissioner for migration, refugees and integration to that of a cabinet-level deputy minister and reinforce it by moving it from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth to the Federal Ministry of the Interior and increasing its budget and staff.

7.              Encourage Länder education ministries to cooperate in formulating and implementing policies designed:

(a)           to make publicly funded pre-school language courses available and mandatory for all children lacking linguistic proficiency;

(b)                        to make two years of publicly-funded full-day kindergarten available and mandatory to children of migrant background so as to bring them into German-speaking society by the age of five; and

(c)           to offer supplemental language and other preparatory classes in early school years so as to increase the number of children of migrant origin in university preparatory high schools (Gymnasien).

8.              Encourage discussions and promote cooperation among Länder religion ministries to create local teacher training programs for religious teachers who can teach Islam in public schools and to create local imam training facilities.

9.              Avoid overloading the German Islam Conference (DIK) with functions for which its members lack a democratic mandate by restricting it to organisation and management of religious practice and related issues, and move away from the practice of allowing the DİTİB to monopolise state-Islam relations.

To the Länder Governments:

10.          Review and where necessary revise naturalisation procedures to ensure they do not unduly emphasise conformity to current public opinion in screening out potentially undesirable candidates for citizenship but rather retain as the crucial criterion a candidate’s commitment to respect the constitution.

11.          Avoid provocative anti-terrorism measures such as public raids and mass detentions of prayer-goers in the absence of a concrete and specific threat or danger.

12.          Encourage Länder interior ministries to consider establishing strong provincial counterparts to the national DIK consultation, while making explicit that these are only for reconciliation of issues of religious observance and clarifying the conditions of participation so that IGMG can realistically meet them and take part alongside other major federations.

13.          Develop educational policies that improve the prospect of children of Turkish and other migrant origins qualifying for university and high-quality apprenticeships, including special language and other preparatory courses in pre- and early school years, and avoid any appearance of directing them predominantly onto the Hauptschule track.

14.          Consider redrawing school district borders in order to encourage greater mixing in public schools if the proportion of children of immigrant origin goes above 75 per cent in a given district.


15.          Seek actively to appoint those of Turkish origin born in Germany (and, eventually, Turkish German citizens) to its administrative board and take steps to establish transparency and independence vis-à-vis the Ankara headquarters and the Turkish government.

16.                       Initiate an overture toward Alevi members of the community and seek to integrate their perspectives within DİTİBs organisational mission.

To Milli Görüş (IGMG):

17.          Avoid organisational, personnel or financial links to political parties in Turkey.

Berlin/Brussels, 14 March 2007


Europe Report N°181                                                                                                              14 March 2007

ISLAM and identity IN GERMANY


Germany, with a population of 82.4 million, has the largest Muslim minority 3.2 to 3.4 million – in Western Europe, after France. However, use of the designation Muslim belies an internally diversified population. Roughly three-quarters – 2.5-2.6 million are immigrants from Turkey or their descendants, who are more than a third of the countrys 7.3 million foreigners and some 3 per cent of the general population. The remainder originate in nearly all parts of the Muslim world but only 5 per cent are of Arab origin. Those with origins in Turkey, the focus of this report, are divided into subgroups with little in common along: ethnic lines (Turks and Kurds); class, urban or rural origin; religion (Sunni, Alevi, Shiite); degree of modernity and religiosity (secularists and pious Muslims); and political status (German citizens and non-citizens).[1]

Much of the Turkish minority is influenced – to an extent which divides it from Europes North African and South Asian Muslim populations – by the modernist Kemalist tradition,[2] which subordinates Islam to the modernist-nationalist interests of the state. Moreover, Turks in Germany are not former colonial subjects but mostly economic migrants. Attitudes are marked by Atatürks reforms and the Turkish states impact on religious practice through the directorate for religious affairs, its NATO membership and its candidacy for European Union membership, which have no direct equivalent in the Arab world.

The sources and channels of Islamic activism familiar elsewhere – such as the Salafiyya, Tabligh and Muslim Brothers[3] – have little presence in this population. With the significant exception of the Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş (Islamic Community of the National Vision, IGMG), Islamic activism appears to be confined to the non-Turkish Muslim element. Even so, Islamist ideologies are not widespread; the federal government estimates that roughly 1 per cent of the Muslim population in Germany is Islamist.[4]

Traditionally, the state raised obstacles to naturalisation; as a result, a high percentage of resident Muslims are politically disenfranchised, resident aliens. This policy, led by conservative political parties, dovetailed with an ideological strain on the German left that encouraged migrants to identify with homeland culture, language and religion, in part perhaps in overreaction to intolerance in Germanys past. The advent of a disenfranchised, poorly integrated second generation faced Germans of all persuasions with the consequences of neglect: several million foreign residents, some of whose views, opinions and religious practices inevitably diverged from those of the majority population. The political backlash led to a slogan in the 1990s that integration is not a one-way street, a reminder to foreigners in Germany of their responsibility to learn the language and adapt to their environment.

A fundamental change occurred with the nationality reforms of 2000, when the government began granting citizenship to most of those born in Germany and thereby removed the main impediment to integration. After years of effectively walling off Turks and others from the national community, the government has started talking about integrating them. The post of national commissioner for foreigners’ affairs, created over 30 years ago as a largely symbolic position, was renamed for migration, refugees and integration and made a cabinet-level deputy minister by the current “grand coalition” government of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP). The government convened a national integration summit on 14 July 2006 and a separate, comprehensive German Islam Conference (Deutsche Islam Konferenz, DIK) on 27 September.

This has been accompanied by increasingly demanding conditions for full participation, from ideologically driven civic loyalty tests to intensified surveillance of Muslim associations. This apparent contradiction – paying lip service to integration while making practical aspects difficult to achieve – reflects the fundamental tension between an ethno-cultural vision of Germany that predominated until recently and a genuine, new desire to address the realities of a diverse society.

This tension has long characterised German policy debates. Integration has always been tied to giving up Turkish citizenship.[5] Granting full rights and equal administrative recognition to Muslim organisations in state-religion relations – e.g. for teaching Islam in public schools – is conditioned upon religious leaders’ public repudiation of putative socio-cultural characteristics, such as inequitable gender relations. Formulating such demands as the price for entry into the German polity appears to presuppose an inherent incompatibility between Islam and the German republic which, in turn, has provoked a general defensiveness and cries of double standards from Turkish and Muslim organisations. How the debate develops will define the environment in which the first generation of native-born Turkish Germans grows up.

These issues are complicated by the fact that the majority of Muslims in Germany are still Turkish nationals and were denied easy access to citizenship for nearly 40 years (1961-1999). Lacking communication channels with its Muslim population, the state has tried to open dialogue through religious bodies that represent the interests of only a minority. It has long outsourced management of Islam, relying on what is essentially an extension of the Turkish state, the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (Diyanet Işleri Türk-Islam Birliği, DİTİB), to tend to religious needs. This was consistent with treating those of Turkish origin as resident aliens and helped provide services such as prayer spaces, imams and religious education in public schools, while avoiding direct engagement. But it has not easily accommodated the Alevi (non-Sunni) element of the Turkish population,[6] let alone other Muslims. It also has led some Sunni Turks to gravitate toward the Cologne-based dissident organisation, IGMG, which is rooted in political opposition to the secular Turkish state and promotes a more visible, central role for religion in daily life.[7]

A second complication arises out of Germany’s federal structure. The national government is constrained on integration issues by the extent to which policy on education, naturalisation and religion is made at the provincial (Länder) level. Länder officials have often avoided difficult decisions and allowed provincial courts to rule on such questions as who can teach Islam in public schools or the permissibility of Halal slaughter.[8] The national government’s scope of action is further checked by the upper house (Bundesrat), where a majority of Länder representatives can block laws that infringe on regional competencies, as happened with the 2002 immigration reform. The constitutional court has rarely taken up state-Islam issues, and then only to uphold Länder jurisdiction in religious affairs.[9] Muslim religious associations have mostly encountered a curious mixture of indulgence (usually towards the indirect representatives of the Turkish state, DİTİB) and repression (of DİTİB’s rivals) in the Länder.

A third complication arises from reunified Germany’s careful balancing of free speech and democratic order. Experiences with National Socialist and Communist dictatorships continue to shape political culture. Officials harbour sensitivity toward state intrusion on civil society but also allergy to anti-democratic, intolerant or totalitarian impulses. The government’s power to place right or left-wing extremists and sympathisers of terrorist groups under surveillance or outright bans has helped define post-war values. But provincial and national Verfassungsschutz (protection of the constitution) offices, which monitor potentially anti-democratic or un-constitutional activities of both registered and underground civil society groups, are not well adapted to dealing with Islamist organisations such as IGMG. Safeguards against extremism impede dialogue and exacerbate antagonism toward the state among Muslims. To be labelled an “Islamist” and placed on the constitutional observation list can, for example, lead to refusal of citizenship, public housing and even residence permits.[10]

Because the Muslim population and its religious leaders are still overwhelmingly foreign, officials can use naturalisation and foreigners law to filter out what (and whom) they deem inadmissible. Influential conservative politicians such as Wolfgang Schäuble and Ronald Pofala (CDU), and Edmund Stoiber and Günther Beckstein (CSU), who now support integration, set the bar high by proposing demanding language courses and loyalty tests which require naturalised Muslims to be more familiar with things German than most Germans, and to adopt current ideological positions on gender relations and sexual mores as proof of Germanness and democratic credentials.[11] When IGMG’s deputy director asked Beckstein, Bavarias interior minister, What do you want from us?, Beckstein reportedly responded, that you integrate.[12] But there are grounds for thinking this demanding view of integration amounts to assimilation and expresses an unstated (but conscious) opposition to integration in fact.

Beyond the bluster of national debate, a well-developed network of relations with migrant and Muslim leaders exists at the municipal level, including professional and personal relationships (even among hard-line conservatives). “The existence of these relationships saved Germany from direct confrontation after 11 September 2001: the public authorities never thought ‘all Muslims were terrorists’ because they knew some personally”.[13] A commentator observed: “Muslims reacted very moderately to the caricatures [of the prophet Mohammed in 2005-2006] because we are in constant dialogue about practical issues, such as halal slaughter. This has left a trace [among Muslims] and a deep understanding of our world, including freedom of opinion”.[14]



A.            The Emergence of a Turkish Population

Unlike France, Belgium or the UK, German society’s first sustained encounter with Islam has taken place in a democratic context on national soil, not as the aftermath of colonial conquest, but rather through a post-war guestworker program that permanently changed the ethnic and religious makeup of society from within. The first bilateral agreements in 1961 allowed German employers to recruit hundreds of thousands of workers from Turkey, mostly from south-western Anatolia. The government never intended that these “guestworkers” should settle in German cities; however, what began as a seasonal labour recruitment program to support a booming economy’s temporary need for low-skilled workers became the migration of nearly one million people by the early 1970s.[15]

Worker rotation policies showed early flaws during recessions, and the end of the program in 1973 had the unintended consequence of encouraging permanent settlement: faced with the possibility of being barred from re-entry, most non-European Community migrants chose to stay.[16] Over the next three decades, the Turkish population continued to grow through family reunification, spousal migration and births.[17]

Table 1: Population of Turkish Origin in Germany[18]
























Due to its manual labour origin, this population was for a long time heavily male. The gender balance levelled out after the constitutional court upheld family reunification in 1980. The arrival of women and children radically altered the social structure, and thus integration needs. Until the late 1970s, the largest age group was in its mid-30s; for twenty years, it has been those under six years of age. By the end of the 1990s, there were 800,000 children of Turkish origin (citizens and non-citizens) of school age.[19]

B.           Naturalisation Policies

Due to its restrictive citizenship regime, which persisted until 2000, Germany was an example of immigrant exclusion in post-1973 Europe. Until recently, it defined citizens by genealogical rather than territorial coordinates.[20] For four decades, permanently resident Turkish citizens were considered guestworkers or simply foreigners. Because the old citizenship law did not provide for automatic acquisition of German nationality upon birth in the territory, most from the second and third generation were not citizens. Even as the total foreign population grew to 9 per cent in the 1990s, CDU-led governments affirmed that Germany was not a country of immigration.

The disconnect between residence status and nationality also can be traced to the lack of double citizenship in German foreigner law, a stringent naturalisation process in the Länder and many Turks uncertainty about an eventual return home. Foreigners could apply for naturalisation only after eight years (for minors) or as long as fifteen (for adults). For ten years after the oil crisis of 1973-1974, officials expected “guestworkers” to leave when no longer needed on the job market; financial incentives for return were DM2,000 (roughly $1,000) plus DM350 per child but the rate of return to Turkey has been only some 10 per cent, while naturalisations rose steadily between 1988 and 1998.

The imperial and state citizenship law, in force from 1913 to 1999, led to the political exclusion of migrants children and grandchildren and even deprived them of some constitutional protections, although they benefited from the welfare state. For many politicians, citizenship has been a goal to be achieved, the culmination of a lengthy process, not the beginning. Although roughly half of todays Turkish-origin population was born in Germany, the vast majority (1.9 million of 2.5-2.6 million) still holds only Turkish citizenship.[21] Only a few children of immigrants have joined political parties and other civil society organisations. A handful of naturalised Turkish Germans have made their way up in local and national politics, including to the Bundestag (though none has yet joined a government cabinet). By 2003, there were only 600-700 Muslim soldiers in the armed forces.[22]

The outlook for politically integrating first and second-generation immigrants remains grim, since as resident aliens they are outside the representative political system. Foreigners have since the mid-1960s been allowed to create civil society associations and join trade unions, which a quarter of eligible Turks do. Provincial and federal governments named commissioners for foreigner affairs to reach out to this population, beginning in the late 1970s. Provincial consultative foreigners councils were also chartered and elected but participation and council influence on public policy have been negligible.[23] The commissioners and councils, nonetheless, have served as advocates of immigrants’ political interests and integration. The recent promotion of the federal commissioner to deputy minister rank shows enhanced concern with this democratic deficit.

The election of an SPD/Green coalition in 1998 inaugurated a sea-change in citizenship requirements. The 2000 law grants citizenship to children born in Germany to non-German parents if at least one parent has been a legal resident for more than five years. Dual nationality for such children is allowed until 23, when a choice must be made. The reform, however, did not remedy the exclusion of the millions of residents born before 2000.[24]

The CDU/CSU have steadily sought to slow these reforms. Plans to allow dual citizenship beyond age 23 were dropped after the success of a petition campaign in 1999, which had anti-Turkish overtones and collected five million signatures, the largest post-war political mobilisation, and after the CDUs victory in regional elections that year shifted the Bundesrat’s balance. In October 2000, the CDU/CSU introduced the term “guiding culture (leitkultur) into the national integration debate; while conservative leaders struggled for a definition, it was a first attempt to articulate new integration requirements. The CDU/CSU also blocked the governments immigration reform bill in 2002.

In late 2005-2006, several Länder governed by conservative coalitions devised a plan to operationalise the guiding culture concept. Baden-Württemberg, Hessen, Lower Saxony and Bavaria announced citizenship tests with an additional 30 to 100 questions on German language, history, culture and post-war values. These played on stereotypes of Islam and Muslim beliefs, attempting to screen views of gender equality, domestic violence and Israels right to exist, as well as tolerance for homosexuals, Jews and blacks[25] and to filter out potential radicals and hard integration cases.[26]

Such tests, which like Verfassungsschutz surveillance force residents to demonstrate ideological conformism,[27] were quickly challenged. As a local FDP leader asked, what German would know the answers to all these questions?[28] There will soon be sample answer sheets available on the internet, added an SPD interior minister.[29] Condemnations were a subject of rare consensus across Muslim federations.[30] The caucus of CDU/CSU Länder interior ministers escalated demands in response, proposing a nationwide values test, beside a language test, but SPD interior ministers rejected it. The national conference of interior ministers compromised in May 2006 on some national standards, which allow discussion of democratic values and a role-playing exercise in civic knowledge if the civil servant deems this necessary.

Table 2: National Naturalisation Guidelines

Interior Ministers’ Conference (May 2006) [31]

q        Lower the minimum residence requirement from eight to six years

q                 Establish written and oral German language proficiency

q        Conduct a Verfassungsschutz background check; certain categories of convicted criminals can be excluded

q        Introduce a ceremonial component to naturalisation (an oath or civic ceremony)

q        Mandatory integration course on democracy, themes of democracy, conflict resolution in democratic society, rule of law, gender equality, basic rights and state symbols, with a test at the end (to be funded by participating immigrants; migrants withappropriate foreknowledge of Germany may petition to opt out of the course and still take the test)

q        Where there is doubt regarding recognition of the free and democratic order and rule of law, a naturalisation discussion may be required

q        No national citizenship test but authorities may review a candidate’s civic knowledge in other ways, such as with a role-playing exercise.

C.           The DİTİB and German Management of Islam

Elaborate provisions exist for state recognition and accommodation of religious communities from the “church tax” to the more obscure “public corporation status” that allows publicly funded religious education and chaplains in public institutions[32] but Muslim organisations were largely excluded from this web of institutional relations for the first three generations of the contemporary Turkish settlement.

For the first few decades, the authorities relied on the DİTİB, for most practical matters relating to Islam such as visas for imams, permits for mosque construction and teachers for religious education in public schools. The Turkish government offers its own version of Islam for its émigrés: a religious practice within the secular Turkish framework, complete with clergy who stick to sermons centrally approved and posted on an Ankara website each Friday.[33] A portrait of Atatürk hangs in the offices and foyers of prayer spaces (sometimes beside the German president’s portrait);[34] DİTİB-affiliated prayer spaces are asked to promise to uphold valid Turkish laws and regulations on the premises.[35]

DİTİB offers organisational shelter for Turkish-Muslim cultural organisations, services for pilgrimage to Mecca and burial in Turkey. Its Ankara headquarters indirectly controls some half (about 1,100) of all Turkish mosques in Europe. At a 2004 Ankara conference, Prime Minister Erdogan proclaimed his ambition that the DİTİB would “be accepted as the EU’s only partner on related issues” in recognition of the “leading role played by Turkey in the Islamic world”.[36] Its leaders adopted a policy of “preference for Turkish religion teachers over European teachers, and for religion lessons conducted in Turkish over lessons conducted in any other language”; they also resolved to “increase the quota of Turkish imams and muftis overseas” and that the organisation should ensure “at least one Islamic cleric in the catchment area of each consulate”.[37]

Germany has 75 per cent of all Turkish citizens abroad[38], and since 1978 DİTİB has sent preachers trained in state seminaries. Its first German branch was established in Berlin in 1982, and within two years, 250 organisations were gathered under its umbrella. Under a 1984 bilateral treaty, it has arranged for three to four-year German residence permits (and a Turkish-paid salary) for roughly 700 imams.[39] It controls over 300 associations and 800-900 prayer spaces;[40] in 2004 it financed two chairs in Islamic theology at Frankfurts Goethe University (the first in Germany).[41] Imams are sent to spread healthy religious information and encourage peaceful coexistence. This is a benefit to the country, since we cannot wait for Germany to get around to training imams.[42] A program with the Goethe Institute in Ankara led in 2006 to a first contingent of 50 imams receiving language training before going to Germany; the training of 100 more is planned in 2007.[43] Similarly, DİTİB pays salaries for Turkish-trained teachers in Bavaria, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemburg, where it handles Islamic education in public schools.

DİTİB and German interests partly overlap. The survival of the secularist Turkish order depends in part on keeping Islamist and other minority elements in check at home and abroad. While the DİTİB in the past focused on marginalising Kurdish nationalists abroad, the largest thorn in its side in recent years has been IGMG. DİTİBs 1971 mission statement compels it to “instil love of fatherland, flag and religion” abroad and to “prevent opposition forces from exploiting the religious needs of Turkish migrants and mobilising them against the interests of the Turkish republic”.[44] Its spokesman put it:

In Turkey there is only one office for religious affairs, and all imams are appointed by the executive board of this office. It is the sole representative for religion. And this is why the DİTİB also has this position in Germany: it serves as the representative here – and this is how the DİTİB wants to be perceived.[45]

This and its Kemalist agenda are at odds with its pretension to represent all Muslims in Germany.[46] A member of the Berlin Arab-SPD group said: DİTİB claims to represent all Muslims but it is still tied to the Turkish state – what do they do with the other third of non-Turkish Muslims?[47] DİTİB has also had trouble integrating the interests of the several hundred thousand immigrants from Turkey, including some Kurds, Alevis, and IGMG members, who bear grudges against the Turkish state. DİTİB is thinking about inviting the Alevis in, but it doesnt want to recognise their prayer rooms as mosques, and prefers that they should instead frequent Turkish Sunni mosques.[48]

DİTİBs stance towards IGMG and Alevi organisations has complicated the attempts by other Muslim federations to band together and receive state recognition. An interviewee in contact with both Turkish and German government officials explained: DİTİB cant simply embrace [IGMG] or Alevis in Germany because all of the decisions that DİTİB makes here have consequences for the home country.[49] Supporters of DİTİB pointed out that it does not directly involve itself with Turkish party politics, and it has helped keep Islam in Germany respectful of its secular, democratic context. The DİTİB general secretary said:

We commit ourselves to respecting the constitution. It could have been much worse here in the 1970s and 1980s in terms of the radicalisation of Islam if DİTİB had not been here. If you compare before and after our establishment in 1984/1985, you will find our presence has encouraged a de-escalation of radicalism.[50]

German officials appreciate this, despite the ambiguity of granting free range to representatives of a foreign state.[51]

German policy towards DİTİB is at a crossroads. With its broad participant list for the federal interior ministrys two-year DIK Conference (see below), the government began to broaden its contacts. DİTİB was the lone representative of Germanys Muslims at Chancellor Merkels Integration Summit in July 2006,[52] likely in recognition of the important role it has long played, but also as a prelude to its demotion to becoming only one – though probably still the main dialogue partner for the government on Muslims religious affairs.[53]

A major reason behind the hesitancy to anoint DİTİB as representative of all Germany’s Muslims is that its headquarters still espouses policies counterproductive to integration, for example Turkish religion teachers and lessons in Turkish. If the organisation is to retain a powerful role, German authorities should provide it incentives to initiate a meaningful administrative separation from Ankara and appoint German-Turkish leaders to its board.


A.            Beyond DİTİB

With few exceptions, Muslim leadership is still dominated by first-generation immigrants, although several organisations actively recruit younger members. As a result, the interests represented in the major federations still largely reflect those of foreign governments, foreign opposition movements and international religious networks.

Muslim religious organisations suffer from low membership: only 10 to 20 per cent of Muslims are members and/or mosque-goers. The six largest umbrella organisations cover the measurable religious activities of only between 310,000 and 800,000.[54] For most practical tasks, this is not overly problematic. These representatives chiefly seek a role in administering to the religiously observant, who frequent the prayer spaces.[55] Participation in training imams or teaching Islamic education in public schools are additional prestigious prizes for which federations compete.

Beyond overseeing informal networks of imams who lead prayers, these federations also offer services, from legal aid in discrimination cases to Islam-themed summer camps for kids. They organise language and religion courses, publish newsletters, charter groups for the Hajj and generally maintain at least one showcase mosque that doubles as a social centre and organisational headquarters. The presidents and chairmen of the federations also compete with one another as self-styled spokesmen for Muslims in Germany on a range of social and political issues.

Prominent leaders have fallen under suspicion for ties to Islamist movements. Verfassungsschutz reports in several Länder have accused former ZMD chairman Nadeem Elyas and Islamic Community-Germany (IG-Deutschland) head Ibrahim El-Zayat, as well as the Turkish and Turkish-German leadership of the IGMG, of maintaining organisational or financial ties to the international Muslim Brotherhood;[56] these claims are often dated, but continual republication in government reports keeps the organisations under suspicion.[57]

Table 3: Muslim Federations and Affiliates (2006)[58]


Member organisations [and members]

Cultural centres/
Prayer spaces

DİTİB (Cologne,

300 [110,000 – 150,000 members]


ZMD: Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (Eschweiler, 1994)


[12,000-20,000 members]





VIKZ: Verband islamische

Kulturzentren (Cologne, 1980)


[21,000-100,000 members]



IR: Islamrat
für die
Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Bonn, 1986)


[140,000 members]


IGMG: Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş (Kerpen, 1974)

[member organisation of IR]


[26,500 members]



IGD: Islamische Gemeinschaft-Deutschland (Munich, 1958)

[600 members]


AABF: Föderation der Aleviten Gemeinden in Europa (Cologne, 1993)


[25,000 members]


Total affiliates

350,000-600,000 members,

10-15% of all Muslims

c. 2,500-2,800

1.             Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (ZMD)

In terms of prominence and ambition to represent all Muslims, ZMD, founded in 1994, is the DİTİB’s main competitor. Verfassungsschutz reports have accused it of financial ties to the Saudi Muslim World League and developing ideological links to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), accusations founded on somewhat flimsy evidence: former chairman Elyas’s prior role as spokesman for an MB-linked association in southern Germany and earlier institutional ties to the King Fahd Academy in Bonn, a Saudi-funded school for diplomats’ children whose curriculum was criticised in 2003 for promoting intolerant views. ZMD, led by a German convert, Ayyub Axel Köhler, includes eighteen regional, umbrella organisations as well as some 400 prayer spaces and cultural organisations. In pursuit of state recognition, ZMD published a charter to govern state-Islam relations, which included unconditional recognition of the constitution and renunciation of the struggle for an “Islamic state”.[59] It has been invited to discuss providing army chaplains as well as to meetings with the Verfassungsschutz.[60]

2.             Union of Islamic Cultural Centres/Verband der Islamischen Kulturzentren (VIKZ)

VIKZ[61], established in 1973, is one of the oldest Muslim organisations and Germany’s third largest. It is linked to the Sufi Süleymanci movement, which became prominent in the 1920s and 1930s when it sought to ensure the transmission of a spiritual Islam under Atatürk’s reforms.[62] Unlike IGMG, it was never associated with a Turkish political party. As one of the most popular federations for young people of Turkish origin (and so a chief rival of IGMG for influence among the second and third generation), its membership has grown to more than 100,000. It has 300 local branches and runs 160-250 prayer spaces in addition to offering local training for imams and Koran courses as well as educational programs in Sharia (Islamic Law), ethics and history. VIKZ has closed itself off somewhat from administrative contacts but its prayer spaces participate in the annual “Day of Open Mosques” in several cities.

3.             Islam Council/Islamrat (IR)

Founded in 1986 in Berlin, IR has 23 membership-based organisations, which collectively have as many as 140,000 members, and is dominated by IGMG.[63] Its spiritual leader is the “Sheikh ul-Islam”, named after the head of official Islam in Ottoman times. Based in Cologne, it controls 700 prayer spaces and fifteen regional organisations, including the Islamische Gemeinschaft-Deutschland (Munich), which is linked to the Muslim Brothers, and all the regional “Islamic Federations”, which espouse a conservative variant of Islam. It seeks recognition as a corporation in law and to be allowed to teach religion in public schools.

4.             Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş (IGMG)

Government fears of Islamism are exemplified in the IGMG, which has been the target of investigations for anti-constitutional activities at the federal level as well as in nearly every Land where it is active; the media regularly demonises its followers as rampant fundamentalists.[64] Many members and leaders are objectively well integrated – German-speaking and aware of their rights – but thought to be working at building up an Islamist parallel society. The organisation has 400-600 prayer spaces, 26,500 dues-paying members and as many as 100,000 sympathizers.[65] With its sister organisation, the IR, it represents perhaps 7 per cent of Germany’s Muslims.

Founded in 1985, it is an arch rival of DİTİB. It has been linked to a series of Islamist parties in Turkey associated with former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan (1996-1997) and his son: first Refah (Welfare), then its rump factions Fazilet (Virtue) and Saadet (Felicity), which have nurtured an active dissident network in Europe, sending leaders to Germany for service in IGMG, which in turn has helped finance political activities of Refah and its successors in Turkey through member donations. IGMG and its fourteen branches across Europe challenge the monopoly of Turkish state Islam. The advance of Islamists to government in Turkey has not significantly changed this dynamic, since Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s AK (Justice and Development) party broke with Refah in 2001 to gain power. IGMG founded Koran schools and prayer spaces in competition with DİTİB and organised rival Hajj tour packages.[66] It also has offices for anti-discrimination lawsuits, religious instruction and mosque construction.

IGMG activities have aroused Verfassungsschutz concern about attempts to partition off the Muslim population – linguistically and culturally. A Berlin teacher in a school with many non-German students said, “I have students who take a bus and go away for the weekend to a [IGMC]-sponsored workshop in North Rhine-Westphalia, and they come back knowing exactly how the world works”.[67] In other words, critics believe the organisation brainwashes young participants with an Islamist, anti-Western viewpoint.

IGMG first came under surveillance for a mixture of cultural and security-related reasons. The Verfassungsschutz reports note a conflation of religion and politics, which has a negative consequence for democracy and the Turkish populations;[68] ties to foreign parties (Refah offshoots in Turkey); alleged support of Bosnian and Algerian extremists in their civil wars; anti-Semitism in Milli Gazete, accused of being one of its press organs; use of Turkish in educational materials; its conception of gender relations and segregation of the sexes; and the assumption that it aims eventually to found a political party.[69] A security official said:

The problem is that they want to create a separate space. And the IGMG is problematic when it comes to the role of women and the fact that it is tied to political parties in Turkey. They are not independent – they get orders from abroad and even send money back. They claim that the ties with Erbakan no longer exist, and they set off flares to distract attention and claim that the Milli Gazete isn’t theirs – yet ask anyone![70]

Unlike immigration and integration policy, this issue enjoys elite consensus:

[IGMG] leaders still dont fulfil certain basic conditions to remove all doubts that they’re fully compatible with democracy. They still have no distance from Erbakan’s ideology, and they still have relations with Milli Gazete. When the new chairman of [the IGMG-affiliated] Islamic Federation of Berlin was elected, the only press allowed to observe was Milli Gazete.[71]

Although IGMG has been boycotted by officials and remains under Verfassungsschutz observation, fissures have appeared in the exclusion policy; IGMG has won several legal victories against libellous security reports and an indirect invitation by the federal government to join the German Islam Conference. While courts have awarded its affiliates the right to organise religious education in Berlin, however, most administrators still steer clear of the leadership and maintain a publicly antagonistic stance.

B.           Jihadist Networks and Terrorists

Though Hamburg was a logistical base for the 9/11 attacks, and in recent years Germans have been kidnapped in Iraq and killed in terrorist acts against Westerners abroad, Germany itself until July 2006 avoided being targeted by Islamist terrorist groups. Nevertheless, the aggressive publicity surrounding Verfassungsschutz surveillance of Islamists, combined with headlines about home-grown terrorism in London and Madrid, has aroused public opinion. Interior Minister Schäuble declared: “Germany has been threatened for years by Islamist terrorism, and this threat is undiminished[72] and later: It is undeniable that the greatest threat to life and limb comes from Islamist terrorism”,[73] a sentiment echoed by CSU leader Edmund Stoiber. Bavarian Interior Minister Beckstein has argued: “It is decidedly false to believe that Germany need not fear terrorist attacks because it is not involved with the Iraq war… Germany is the leading nation in the fight against the Taliban, with which al-Qaeda is tightly allied….We are part of the hated West.”[74]

With the exception of several men under suspicion for involvement with the Hamburg 9/11 cell, however, terrorism cases have been limited to financing activities elsewhere or plots intercepted at an early stage. Terrorist suspects stand accused of knowing or abetting suicide bombers, not aspiring to be one.[75] They have tended to be either German converts or dual nationals of Arab, not Turkish, origin.[76]

The demographic profile of the vast majority of Muslims in Germany does not appear to make them receptive to the causes that recently contributed to radicalisation in the UK, Spain and France. Volunteer fighters from Germany have travelled to Chechnya (mostly Turks) and Bosnia (mostly Arabs and Bosnian Muslims) but not yet to Palestine or Iraq, which are not seen as particularly relevant rallying points for the largely Turkish population.[77] Germany is not a fashionable target for international terrorism, a long-time scholar of terrorist recruitment has argued:

Unlike England or France, we don’t have any colonial past in the Middle East. We didn’t play a supporting role in Iraq. And even if you say our innocence ends in Afghanistan, there is still a difference with the Soviets’ neo-colonial occupation or with that of the U.S in Iraq. And there is no upcoming deployment of troops that would bring us into the line of fire. The majority of Muslims in Germany are Turks, and they do not generally get involved with terrorism.[78]

Most security experts cautiously downplay the danger of home-grown terrorism, despite a close-call in 2006. On 18 August, a 21-year old Lebanese student, who had been in the country for two years, was arrested in connection with an attempted gas-bomb attack on 31 July on a regional train from Cologne.[79] A technical failure kept the bomb from becoming the first successful terrorist act in Germany since the 1980s but it could have killed scores.[80]

“The Turkish-origin population has other priorities besides Iraq and Palestine, such as the status of Kurds and Iraqi Kurdistan”, according to a former counterterrorism adviser to Chancellor Schröder.[81] Confrontations between Kurds, Turkish nationalists (and ultimately Israeli embassy security) after the 1999 arrest of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Öcalan led to four deaths but have since died down.[82] Intelligence agencies have not discovered Muslims of Turkish origin in the “home-grown terrorist” mould like the “London Four” of July 2005, the “London 23” of August 2006 or jihadi suicide bombers such as those who travelled to Iraq from Paris’s Al-Dawa mosque in 2004. Murat Kurnaz, the “Taliban from Bremen”, the lone German Turk in U.S. custody at Guantanamo, returned home in September 2006. He was affiliated with the avowedly apolitical Tabligh movement,[83] and German intelligence concluded he was simply in the wrong place (Pakistan) at the wrong time (October 2001).[84]

In December 2005, Guido Steinberg, Schröder’s former adviser, warned of potential trouble if foreign fighters made their way from Iraq to Germany and al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s 2001 call to attack Jewish and Israeli targets in Europe was taken seriously. Arrests were made in two separate plots to attack such targets in 2002 and 2003, and several trials on terrorism charges have since been held:

q              men were arrested in the Ruhr in April 2002 for planning attacks on Jewish and Israeli targets in Berlin and Düsseldorf in connection with a Zarqawi acolyte;

q              a German Kurd was arrested on suspicion of helping with logistics and financing for the jihad movement, Ansar al-Sunna, in Iraq, in December 2003;

q              in May 2005, a Bavarian court opened a case against an Iraqi national (Lokman Amin Mohammed), who was allegedly a member of Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish Sunni Islamist group;

q                             in February 2004, a Düsseldorf court tried a German cell of the al-Tawhid group, a predecessor to al-Qaeda in Iraq also connected with Zarqawi; and

q              three Ansar al-Islam members were prosecuted for planning to attack ex-Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi during a Berlin visit.[85]

Other individuals have been swept up in counter-terrorism efforts: 186 investigations are under way. A Land-level program to deport religious leaders with suspicious ties or who gave incendiary sermons in Bavaria led to some 60 expulsions (mostly of Imams) in 2005. The same authorities targeted suspected recruitment of foreign fighters for Iraq by shutting down a Munich association in December 2005 and arresting a Moroccan-German in July 2006.[86]

Infobox 1: High-Profile German Terror Suspects

q        Steven Smyrnek, a German convert to Islam whom the Israelis jailed for six years for helping Hizbollah prepare a suicide attack and who was freed in a German-brokered prisoner exchange in January 2004.[87]

q        Christian Ganczarski, an ethnic German migrant who converted to Islam, had advance knowledge of the 2002 Djerba synagogue bombing (fourteen of 21 dead were German tourists), and was arrested in France after fleeing Germany.

q        Abdelghani Mzoudi, from Morocco, a Hamburg roommate of Mohamed Atta, was charged with aiding the 9/11 hijackers. At trial he acknowledged knowing Atta and financial transactions for al-Qaeda members.[88]

q        Mounir El Motassadeq, who moved to Münster from Morocco at 19 in 1993, and studied at university in Hamburg, where he met Atta. Accused of intensive contacts with Atta and fellow 9/11 suspects Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah and said to have been the group’s “treasurer” while the hijackers were in the U.S. and signing Atta’s will,[89] he was convicted of membership in a terrorist organisation and as an accessory to murder.[90]

q        Said Bahaji, a Moroccan-German dual national born near Hannover, who went through the German school system and was Attas roommate. He left Germany in September 2001 and is at large. One of the suspected terrorists arrested in London in August 2006 was alleged to have been in contact with his wife. [91]

q        Redouane E.H., a Moroccan-German suspected of trying to recruit suicide bombers for Iraq and of being an accomplice of Bahaji, who was arrested in July 2006 before he could flee Germany.

q        Mohammed Haidar Sammar, a German-Syrian dual national whom the U.S. arrested in Morocco and renditioned to Syria in December 2005, where he was convicted of membership in the Muslim Brotherhood and sentenced to twelve years in prison in February 2007.[92]

q        Murat Kurnaz, a follower of the Tabligh group, is a Turkish national and permanent resident of Germany, who is not thought to have been a member of al-Qaeda or to have travelled to Afghanistan before arrest in Pakistan.[93] Released in 2006, he accused German and U.S. soldiers of mistreating him in custody in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay; discovery of the apparent refusal of the German government to accept his transfer (and non-renewal of his residence permit) two years earlier sparked wide controversy.[94]

q        Khaled al-Masri, a German-Lebanese dual national alleged to have been kidnapped in error by the U.S. and taken from Skopje to Afghanistan, is seeking damages from the U.S.; Bavarian justice officials issued thirteen arrest warrants for alleged CIA agents involved with his kidnapping in January 2007.[95]

q        Youssouf Mohammed el-Hajdid, a 21-year old Lebanese who came to Kiel in 2004 to study, was arrested in August 2006 on suspicion of having planted one of two suitcase bombs on a train in Cologne station. [96]

C.           Probing Links Between Violent and Non-Violent Groups

1.             Verfassungsschutz calculations

Local and federal authorities have concentrated on Islamism as the potential locus of anti-democratic behaviour, including terrorism. In the words of a local Verfassungsschutz office, “Islamists want God, not the people, as the highest authority, with Sharia as the basis for this state”.[97] As a provincial security official explained in December 2005, “a bomber from secular Lebanon cannot easily get into Germany as a ready-made Islamist but he can easily enter into that area of influence once here in Germany.[98] Verfassungsschutz officers monitor publications, statements and meetings of potentially violent radicals and potential terrorists – as well as those of explicitly non-violent Islamists. Interior Minister Schäuble said in May 2006:

The number of Islamists is not the same thing as the number of potential terrorists, but Islamists have a vision of state order that we do not share….We do not want terrorists, but we also do not want Islamists. Instead, we want [Muslims to have a] passion for this country….We must insist that Muslims in Germany identify with the constitution.[99]

The annual Verfassungsschutz reports enumerate Islamists’ offences to the democratic spirit, regardless of whether organisations are “legalistic” or violence prone. While non-violent Islamists’ law-abiding nature is not questioned, their organisations stand accused of practicing social or political self-segregation, and/or promoting intolerant attitudes and using legal means to “create Islamist milieux, where there is a danger of continuing radicalisation”.[100] Thus, a report on IGMG by Land Hamburg excluded contact with the organisation so long as it did not renounce what was called the fundaments of “Political Islamism” cited in the paragraph above.[101]

In this “slippery slope” view of extremism, dreams of ‘kingdom come’ place the highly religious just a notch or two from the potentially violent on a continuum of radicalisation. A Verfassungsschutz pyramid diagram appears in a 2005 interior ministry publication on “entryways into radicalisation”; on the lowest rung are “1. Muslims in Germany (3.2 million)”, followed by “2. sporadically religious Muslims”, “3. Muslims who live religiously”, “4. moderate Islamists”, “5. Islamists (30,000)”, “6. Those who tolerate violence”, and, the smallest niche at the top, “7. those who are ready to commit violence”.[102] Groups in the upper three echelons receive “constitutional observation”. “Political Islam is not just fertile terrain for terrorist activities supposedly in the Koran’s name”, a recent CDU/CSU position paper argues. “It also leads in daily life to repression and intolerance towards those of other beliefs – especially towards enlightened Muslims – and against women”.[103] To figure in a Verfassungsschutz report means in effect to be blacklisted from administrative support or dialogue. The alleged male chauvinism of Islamists raises the same flags and elicits the same consequences as potentially violent extremism.

In all, 28 Muslim organisations (up from 24 in 2004) – Arab, Pakistani, Turkish and Turkish-German – are classified as “Islamist” in the 2005 federal report on extremists.[104] To arrive at the number of “Islamists”, authorities count those belonging (or paying dues) to these organisations. The federal Verfassungsschutz estimates that roughly 1 per cent (32,100) of the Muslim population is Islamist,[105] including 27,250 of Turkish and 3350 of Arab origin.[106] The Turkish figure consists almost entirely of the 26,500 IGMG members. Also included are some 1,300 Muslim Brotherhood members (half affiliated with the Islamische Gemeinschaft-Deutschland in Munich),[107] and roughly 500 members of Tablighi Jama’a (although its annual meeting draws some 1,000).[108]

Islamists “who tolerate violence” are far fewer, some 2,000. The surveillance list includes supporters of the Kalifatstaat (Caliphate State), which is “open about its goal of overthrowing democracy” and has been banned since 2001, but counts just 750-800 members.[109] Its leader, Metin Kaplan, the “Caliph of Cologne”, had sought asylum from Turkey in 1983. After his father’s death in 1995, Kaplan took over the Kalifatstaat in a heated contest with Ibrahim Sofu, whose death he called for. Sofu was assassinated in 1997, and in 2000 Kaplan was sentenced to four years for incitement to murder.[110] His declared objectives, and those of his organisation are to instigate the overthrow of Turkey’s secularist government and its replacement by an Islamic state. He was accused of plotting to use a hijacked aircraft with explosives to blow up Atatürk’s mausoleum in Ankara on the republic’s 75th anniversary in 1998.[111] In 2004, a German court extradited him to face treason charges. In June 2005, he was convicted of “attempting to overthrow constitutional order by force” and received a life sentence.[112]

The Lebanese movement Hizbollah is thought to have 900-1,000 activists in Germany; Palestinian Hamas and Hizb-ut-Tahrir (banned in 2003) are estimated to have around 300 apiece.[113] Iranian organisations are also under observation; in particular, the Islamische Zentrum-Hamburg (IZH) and its Imam Ali mosque, a hub of Shiism in Europe that has distributed the anti-Israeli statements of President Ahmadinejad.[114]

Officials also count a total of several hundred supporters of armed bodies such as the Algerian Armed Islamic Group and GSPC (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prédication et le Combat), the Iraqi Ansar Al-Islam/Ansar al-Sunna and a handful of “non-aligned Mujahedin”.[115] They are more conservative, however, in estimating Islamists who may be “ready to commit violence”, 1-2 per cent of Islamists under observation (400-600).[116] By comparison, the Verfassungsschutz counts 1,100 German extreme-right activists “ready to commit violence” in Bavaria alone.[117]

2.             A slippery slope?

Protecting democratic institutions is a central tenet of the constitution, and some surveillance of those on the borderline between “condoning violence” and “committing violence” is necessary. But given their small numbers, it is arguable that Islamists are not the primary challenge to Muslim integration in Germany. At the very least, Verfassungsschutz surveillance is an overly blunt instrument that leads to stigmatisation and the lumping together of the many non-violent with the few potentially violent. Aggressive mosque raids and administrative exclusion of “undesirable” (though actually law-abiding) interlocutors give fodder to extremists, who thrive on an antagonistic relationship with the state.

For “legalist” Islamists, Verfassungsschutz policies “minimise the options and mean we have a tendency towards exclusion”.[118] It is unlikely that the “creation of Islamic milieux through Islamist organisations” (such as weekend trips, summer camps, sports groups, and computer courses) actually serve as effective “recruitment” areas.[119] Furthermore, exclusion may bolster some Islamists’ arguments that the state has it in for Muslims and so hasten or contribute to radicalisation. Rather than a pyramid of gradual radicalisation as described in the Verfassungsschutz report, it is more accurate to visualise three independent categories: Islamists, those who tolerate violence and those ready to commit violence. It is possible to jump from one category to the next but this requires an external shock of some kind. There is a real danger that state over-reaction could offer one such jolt:

The “radicalisation scenario” of the interior ministry sees a non-existent slippery slope. In reality, there is a sharp barrier between IGMG and the Caliphate-state people. Namely, IGMG are seen as betraying revolutionary purity. The conservatives [IGMG] are the enemies of the radicals. There is still a meaningful gap between [radical] groups and the IGMG’s political Islam, which [radicals] do not accept. The real slope is not gradual; rather it is event-based and personal. It may well have to do with the experience of the state’s measures towards Muslims….Police tactics could push people to jump from conservative political Islam into a revolutionary … Islam.[120]

In particular, high-profile mosque raids often seem to be more for the sake of image than security reasons:[121]

Indiscriminate crackdowns give IGMG the feeling that double standards are used towards its members, that there is no rule of law. People feel that they are treated like criminals when their prayer spaces are raided and when 140,000 identification checks were conducted in Lower Saxony alone, with nothing to show for them.[122]

Mustafa Yoldas, leader of a council of Muslim organisations in Hamburg, said: “We could tolerate such measures if they were actually successful. In the past we’ve had indiscriminate raids on highly symbolic dates like 11 September 2002, so we get to the point that it is hard to have faith in the Verfassungsschutz’s due diligence and thoroughness”.[123] Similarly, a leader of a Muslim woman’s association in Cologne asserted:

Mosque raids leave a bad taste in our mouths….They check ID’s without any grounds for suspicion, and people are forced to wait for hours for no reason at all….Muslims get the feeling that we are not welcome and are further pushed away from the State. The state becomes so foreign – any group would feel this way when the treatment is so transparent and one-sided.[124]

An IGMG leader told Crisis Group:

It is humiliating to have policemen with machine guns checking identification in a prayer space. Just last week in Osnabrück, 600-700 people had their ID’s checked in front of the mosque in the name of the battle against Islamists – even ten-year olds, which should be illegal since they are minors. Is that the sort of image that is supposed to make children feel at home here? [125]

The overall effect is that German authorities are shooting sparrows with canons – criminal law can always be used against lawbreakers, but there must be a civil society process and not just a police-based process.[126]

3.             Protecting Germany from IGMG

The police process, moreover, has not always been conducted above board. The semi-annual Verfassungsschutz reports and lawsuits against IGMG preachers and officials have sometimes included basic translation errors, defamatory material or unfair innuendo and accusations.[127] They may also read too much into IGMG publications and selective snippets of public statements: The assertions and implications are presented without any evidence that… [leaders] actually believe that religious practice [requires] dismantling democratic governing principles.[128]

Successful recent lawsuits against the Verfassungsschutz in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria (the most populous Länder) have allowed IGMG to formally distance itself from Milli Gazete and elicited court orders preventing officials there from reprinting “falsehoods and hearsay” against the organisation.[129] Nonetheless, in the absence of legally actionable offences, local authorities have relied on administrative measures (including some bordering on harassment) to deny IGMG members and officials legitimacy or comfort. In addition to rejecting naturalisation applications, refusing visas for imams and initiating expulsions of activists,[130] this pressure translates into an exclusion policy from which only a handful of administrators have dared to deviate. “Erbakan will die sometime. Meanwhile, we can exert pressure so they are not accepted as religious communities or as dialogue partners”.[131]

The stigmatising effect of surveillance has effectively doomed any possibility of constructive contact with authorities. Henning Scherf, ex-SPD mayor of Bremen (1995-2005), who organised an “Islam Week” his last five years in office, spoke of the necessity to engage IGMG, which had some “excellent people”. He convinced the Alevi Federation to cooperate with it in one Islam Week but could not get the CDU to come.[132] Other civil society organisations also feel pressure; according to Aiman Maziyek, a ZMD official and FDP politician:

Even for Christian-Islamic dialogue events, the organisers may call up the Verfassungsschutz and ask if so-or-so is under observation, and if he is, then he is not invited. We want to engage IGMG but we can’t: it is a vicious circle. To be under observation is not a judgment or condemnation but it is treated as such.[133]

Inssan, a Muslim association in Berlin known as tolerant and actively intercultural, had its mosque construction permit denied by a neighbourhood council for contact with the Islamische Gemeinschaft-Deutschland, led by Ibrahim El-Zayat, accused of being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.[134] The local CDU official defended her decision by citing surveillance reports: “I cannot judge it myself, but I know that in every Verfassungsschutz report I’ve read about Mr. El-Zayat, it states clearly and definitely that there is the intention to use unsuspecting, moderate and flexible Muslims to carry out [the Muslim Brotherhood’s] interests.”[135]

In a surprising move, after IGMG started a campaign urging Turks to naturalise and become citizens, the Bavarian Verfassungsschutz distributed brochures with Osama bin Laden’s photo, warning that IGMG intended to establish a political party with Islamist goals.[136] IGMG leaders point out that the far-left political party PDS/Linkspartei and the far-right NPD are also under observation by the Verfassungsschutz but have deputies in the Bundestag and/or provincial parliaments.

IGMG has not only reacted defensively to surveillance; it also has tried to clean up its image and portray itself as less explicitly “Islamist.” It dropped insistence on establishing an “Islamic order” in favour of a “just order”, now claims to “accept the lay separation” of Turkish state and religion”[137] and denounced a suicide bombing in Israel.[138] It has gained some benefits: it was provisionally invited as a working group member (though not an official delegation) to the 2006 German Islam Conference.[139] This may signal a pragmatic shift by the interior ministry. If the ministry reverts to zealous policing and wholesale tarring, however, IGMG and its adherents are likely to go underground. Some IGMG organisations have already changed their names to make it easier to deal with local administrators, calling themselves the “German-Turkish Friendship Circle”.[140]


A.            A Relative Success Story?

The German approach over several decades appears to be paying off. Turkish migrants have not been associated with any significant unrest or terrorism, their relative quiescence contrasting with the image of rioters in France and UK “home-grown” terrorists. For many in Germany, this is evidence that mastering the local language and citizenship are “necessary but not sufficient” conditions for integration.[141] Germany’s defenders have long argued that France produced “français de papier” (“paper French”) without creating “français de coeur” (“wholeheartedly French”).[142] The Länder have practiced a stringent naturalisation regime that emphasises identification with Germany above more objective indicators such as length of residence or place of birth.

The likelihood of a French-style urban revolt appears remote. An expert on Turkish integration explained: “There were such pessimistic discussions about integration in Germany until the French riots – then it seemed that everything here is beautiful!”[143] Those events brought to light several German advantages. Turkish migrants have a fundamentally different interaction with and expectation of the state than the large Maghrebi population in France or ethnic Pakistanis in the UK. North Rhine-Westphalia’s integration minister (the country’s first) said:

We are rather lucky with our Turks who live here, who have known about the separation of religion and state since Atatürk. There is fundamentalism in Turkey, but Turks do not generally feel that Saudis or Osama bin Laden are addressing them in particular.[144]

German cities practised urban planning techniques that now appear farsighted, having made efforts in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to avoid creating urban ghettoes: foreigner quotas were instituted in subsidised housing, municipalities hired professional mediators to resolve cultural disputes and cities with “special renewal needs” received extra money. There is not a single apartment building in Berlin where only those of Turkish origin live. Immigrant neighbourhoods tend to be in city centres and host a network of youth offices, neighbourhood councils, civil society organisations, immigrant commissioners and councils and after-school services.[145] Sanem Kleff, a teacher and former union official responsible for multicultural affairs, argues: “Life is still better here than it is in the banlieue, where youth are completely isolated from the city-centres….In France, they have no places that belong to them whereas [our youth] have the opportunity to participate in urban life.[146] The immigrant population (including a growing middle class)[147] is in many medium-size and large cities and towns, not just two or three – a benefit of West Germanys decentralised post-war recovery.[148]

Several highly publicised, violent incidents in Berlin – in particular, three “honour killings” of young Turkish women and an open letter from teachers overwhelmed by misbehaviour at the Rütli school – have pushed the federal government to seek a larger role in setting a national integration policy agenda, an effort that, since 2000, has mostly been addressed in bipartisan fashion. In 2006, parties agreed on mandatory language courses for new immigrants and pre-school language requirements for their children. Consensus has also emerged on the formerly conservative insistence that German be spoken in schoolyards. More than fifty schools in Mannheim and Berlin have instituted a “German only” policy during recess.[149]

Equal access to religious education for Muslims is no longer contentious. Conservatives have dropped opposition to Islamic education in public schools; even Pope Benedict XVI reportedly told the North Rhine-Westphalia governor, “it is very important that Muslim children have the chance to receive religious education.”[150] In the last years, theologians and Islamism specialists have been added to the interior ministry (including an Islam analysis unit in its agency for migration and refugees), the foreign ministry launched a “Dialogue with the Islamic World”, and the federal Verfassungsschutz has recently hired more than a dozen academic specialists with PhDs.

Chancellor Merkel has made several gestures to indicate interest in immigrant integration, most notably upgrading the federal commissioner for migration, refugees and integration, Maria Böhmer. Böhmer attends cabinet meetings, without the right to speak, and has regular access to the chancellor and ministries. Under her tutelage, the federal chancellery hosted an education conference on migrant children in June 2006 and an integration summit in July,[151] which produced a “National Integration Plan” that has led to regular meetings between Böhmer and Länder integration ministers. Working groups with federal, local government and migrant representatives have been established on education, professional qualifications, women’s rights, civil engagement and “on-site integration”.

Of late, however, cracks have appeared in the bipartisan consensus. Several CDU and CSU politicians have proposed deporting juvenile troublemakers and raising the age required of fiancée immigrants from eighteen to 21.[152] The CDU/CSU has adopted a harder line on linguistic competency, proposing child subsidies and welfare be cut off for uncooperative parents.[153] Annette Schavan, the federal education minister, suggested sending “highly problematic” students to boarding schools,[154] introducing metal detectors and security cameras in schools and arresting the worst youth offenders. When all else fails, CDU/CSU politicians say, juvenile delinquents should be sent to youth jails or even deported.[155] An SPD leader spoke of a “CDU vote trap to attract the extreme right”.[156]

Still, regardless of party affiliation, there is an increasing tendency to demand more integration effort of migrants. The immigration law in force since January 2005 budgets €250 million for integration courses that target 200,000 new migrants and resident foreigners annually and are mandatory for anyone who can not get by easily in German or is deemed to “in special need of integration”. Benefits are to be cut for non-compliance.[157] In addition to 600 hours of language (which may be increased to 900), the courses include 30 hours on German history and culture and rule-of-law. Modules have been developed specifically for women and to promote basic literacy.[158]

The focus on immigrants’ need to “identify” with Germany comes amid renewed comfort with patriotism coinciding with the 2006 World Cup and amid a heightened sense that parallel societies are problematic. The CDU’s German-Turkish Forum called on Turks to root for the national team and proposed a German flag be posted at every mosque. Some conservatives are asking for far more:

Integration means more than just displaying a German flag while youre in a party mood … it means answering decisive questions about our self-understanding … and our national community of values. The general population still doubts that immigrants … really want integration.[159]

Instead of asking the authorities to assume greater responsibility, the onus is placed on individuals of migrant background to prove their attachment to Germany – a reflection of the concern over foreign influence on the immigrant populations. For a Verfassungsschutz official in Baden-Württemberg:

So long as Saudi Arabia keeps exporting its Islam, then an international struggle is necessary. We need not become “aggressive” but simply be ready to assert our own interests as a sovereign state. We must learn from our past that appeasement is no solution. If Germany has learned its lessons, then it must do more. We need to go into the communities and into the mosques and explain and teach: what is the Federal Republic of Germany? What are we offering? We must find a common basis with them, we must find an “us”. In turn, the original German inhabitants must accept that their environment has changed and must accept that mosques will be built, etc. However, Muslims may not build some sort of Islamist Disneyland here. They are going to change as much as the host country will change.[160]

The challenge of integration will only become sharper as the number of Muslims born in Germany with citizenship and so outside the provisions of foreigners’ law reaches the million mark in the next twenty years.

B.           Islam, Public Opinion and the Risk of Backlash

The political debate is divided between a multiculturalist outlook and one that aims to preserve a form of German guiding culture to which immigrants must subscribe in order to enjoy full rights. Rooted in a deeper disagreement over what lessons ought to be learned from the Nazi experience, the debate is not as sharp as it once was – the CDU/CSU now agree that Germany is an immigrant country, while the SPD has distanced itself from the multiculturalist tendencies of its former coalition partners, the Greens.[161] The CDU/CSU is itself divided,[162] while the SPD position paper evokes the violent confrontations in recent years in France and the USA, which show what can happen when a society closes its eyes too long.[163]

The recent focus on naturalisation questionnaires reflects a tendency to trace violence and sexism back to the Koran and Islamic culture and give Muslims a false choice: embrace womens rights (and other Western conceptions) or remain foreign and forgo German nationality and/or religious equality.[164] The proposal to ask every candidate whose origin is in a Muslim-majority country how he or she feels about homosexuals, blacks, and a womans choice of careers presumes that anyone with a Muslim background is likely to subscribe to culturally-based prejudices. This is fuelled, in part, by a wave of feminist critiques of Turkish and Muslim society,[165] prominently tell-all books by German women of Turkish background, such as Seyran Ateş “Great Journey Into Fire” (2003) and Necla Keleks “The Foreign Bride” (2004), which evoke the everyday violence of arranged marriages and the oppressive, traditional patriarchalism of some Turkish men in Germany.[166]

The dissemination of negative views toward Islam, along with Middle East events, are affecting public opinion. According to a 2006 poll, 58 per cent of Germans expect “a coming conflict with the Muslim population” (a two-fold increase since 2004); 46 per cent fear an imminent terrorist attack, and 42 per cent believe terrorists may be hidden among the Muslim population.[167] While more than two-thirds of Muslims say they have a basically positive view of Christians, just over one third of Germans feel the same about Islam.[168]

Questionnaires also risk playing into fundamentalists’ hands by both defining German-ness in opposition to Islam and deepening the Turkish community’s sense of being Muslim. As one of the federal chancellor’s religious affairs advisers observed, “Islamists want all potential Muslims to be Muslim”.[169] The values tests indulge in:

… generalisations about the so-called Muslim community. But honour killings have nothing to do with Islam per se. Instead, cultural problems are labelled as religious problems, and radicals thereby receive more support. Not to be accepted by Germans is exactly what the fundamentalists want: to label this population as Muslim.[170]

German discourse has mostly avoided the more extreme forms of rhetoric elsewhere on the continent. Still, calls for cultural adaptation,[171] opposition to Turkish EU membership on cultural grounds,[172] claims Germany is not a country of immigration, and surveillance and questionnaire policies ring alarm bells.[173]


The most significant obstacle to Turkish and other political integration unquestionably has been exclusion from citizenship. That said, a critical step to encourage integration and citizenship and reduce the appeal of radical Islamism would be to achieve a degree of equality in educational and employment opportunity. This would be especially important for the 800,000 children who will be entering the job market in the coming decades. In seven of sixteen Länder, between one quarter and one third of all fifteen-year old students are from an “immigrant background”; in the biggest cities half the under-40 population will be of immigrant origin by 2010; 11 per cent of all students in the present school year in North Rhine-Westphalia, which includes Cologne and Bonn, are of Muslim, mainly Turkish background.[174] If the first and second generations have experienced political and socio-economic exclusion that is now beyond repair, integration will test what a newly refocused Germany can do for the next generation.

Immigration law and educational policies that indirectly lead to segregation of students of foreign origin have been in tension with urban planners’ efforts to avoid ghettos. Immigration laws contain the same loopholes and family reunification guarantees of other continental immigration regimes, but the resulting foreign population does not have the equivalent advantage of a former colonial power’s linguistic residue, as in the UK or France. More than half the Turkish population arrived through family reunification; for the past fifteen years, spousal migration and family reunification of migrants’ children and parents have brought 15,000 to 25,000 annually from Turkey.[175] This continuously renews a population that does not speak German at home.[176]

Difficulties with language and low socio-economic status are key factors in Turkish children’s below-average educational performance and limited opportunities to attend the best schools. The last Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) study of 45,000 German fifteen-year olds found a stronger correlation of parental socio-economic status and educational success than in any other OECD country.[177] A review of the study concluded: Germany is “particularly bad at dealing with pupils who do not speak German as their mother-tongue at home”.[178] Children from wealthier families were, on average, two years ahead in math and science and four times as likely to obtain the Abitur (precondition for university entrance) as poorer peers. Early decisions often compel Turkish students to attend vocational school rather than Gymnasium (high school); the children of migrants are under-represented in all-important training positions and, inevitably, the job market. No other school system in the industrialised world has abandoned the children of immigrants and workers to the same degree.[179]

A.            Integration Failures in Education and Employment

The most significant challenge will be to reach some equality in schooling, job training and employment. Public schools have left foreign students – especially those of Turkish origin – in an increasingly precarious position.[180] Their segregation from the best institutions stems from language difficulties that lead to disadvantaged access to kindergarten and then from the way in which the German system distinguishes between students at an early age. Pre-school education for a nominal fee is a right enshrined by law since 1996, but is not mandatory; even the low costs can be prohibitive for families of modest means, and there are often insufficient openings.[181] Other industrialised nations provide six to nine years of common public education, with students mixed together before they may go to specialised schools – German schools may keep students together for as few as four years.[182]

When a ten- or twelve-year old finishes primary school, he or she is recommended for one of three high school tracks, only one of which (Gymnasium) grants the diploma needed to enter university.[183] Just over 10 per cent of students of Turkish origin attend a Gymnasium, compared to one third of German students; very few Turks go on to higher education – fewer than 25,000 of 235,989 Turkish 18- to 25-year olds living in Germany were enrolled in German universities in 2004/2005,[184] where they were outnumbered even by Chinese students (27,000).[185]

There are worrying consequences to educational segregation and reason to fear that school administrators are establishing an implicit hierarchy of inherent giftedness among students of different nationalities.[186] Turkish students are twice as likely as Germans to be classified as special education cases, often due to language disadvantage and to be directed to a Hauptschule, the lowest of the secondary school tracks.[187] Nearly all students in urban Hauptschulen have serious language problems; many have become de facto foreigners schools.[188] An expert on education and integration explained: Hauptschulen get the bad kids, and Gymnasien get the good kids – theyre separated so early that they cannot benefit from each other.[189]

The links between language skills, educational performance, early tracking and professional segregation as well as socio-economic integration are clear. Increasingly segregated schools and poor knowledge of German have exacerbated high youth unemployment. In the current economic climate, there are not many jobs and even fewer for immigrants; with fewer degrees and less formal training, foreigners are disproportionately affected by economic downswings. Turkish students are more than twice as likely as Germans to leave school without a diploma; 25 per cent have none, compared to 1 per cent of Germans.[190] This is reflected in the training positions and apprenticeships – important for access to the high-skilled economy – available to immigrant youth. Just 25 per cent of migrant youths participate in apprenticeship programs, compared to 59 per cent of young Germans;[191] foreigners, who are 12-13 per cent of the student body, are only 4-5 per cent of the student apprentices in Berlin.[192] The Turkish unemployment rate (25.2 per cent) is more than twice the national average.

B.           The Potential for Conflict

As shown by the French experience, political and socio-economic inequality and discrimination are a volatile mix. The riots in France in 2005 also demonstrated that street unrest is not an Islamist threat, and the basis for confrontation is political rather than religious.[193] The religious dimension should not be neglected: religious extremists exploit the same social disaffection as extreme left movements did in the recent past.[194] Lack of education and employment opportunity contributes to a feeling of discrimination. According to a 2005 survey, two in three German Muslims claim to have been the object of racist or discriminatory behaviour (one-fifth say they were treated differently at school or turned down for a job).[195] Foreign youth in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, for example, complain that their applications are thrown in the trash as soon as firms see their names and addresses.[196]

One result is that even Muslim leaders with German citizenship tend to say they do not feel German or they are unfairly treated. “I have lived here since I was one-year old and yet I still do not feel German because every day it is shown to me that I am different”, said IGMG’s deputy director.[197] DİTİB’s spokesman echoes this: “I do not feel like we are treated equally – it is as though Muslims are always under a general suspicion”.[198] Poor relations mean that Muslim leaders often interpret integration measures such as the naturalisation questionnaire and the German-language-only school policies as hostile: “It is a double standard to insist that Kurdish be allowed in Turkey whereas Turkish children are punished for speaking Turkish during recess”.[199]

Such feelings not withstanding, Turks and other Muslims remain basically optimistic. The U.S. State Department’s 2005 survey found 80 per cent believed they had “the freedom to practice their religion”; 40 per cent felt German first while a mere 10 per cent said they identified primarily with their ethnic background. More than nine in ten favoured integrating into German society fully (32 per cent) or partially (61 per cent).[200] The greatest threat of instability likely stems from sustained political exclusion, particularly when exacerbated by continued socio-economic inequality. As a security official put it:

The worse it gets in the real world, the more attractive the utopia becomes. Islamists use the argument of the West’s injustice, everything that Communists once criticised about the capitalist system. The West is shown to be hypocritical and only selectively supportive of the values it claims to defend.[201]

The likelihood of an uprising, he said, was minimal unless “the downward pressure exerted on the lowest classes were to become so great that they no longer have any perspective”.[202]

Despite fears of spillover from the French riots in 2005, no German cities saw anything similar; only two cars were set alight in Berlin in October-November. Fears of confrontation were similarly misplaced during the 2006 Mohammed caricatures affair: more journalists than demonstrators responded to a call for protest in a Berlin mosque.[203] Muslim organisations were conciliatory; sixteen issued a statement asserting “we the representatives of [the] Turkish-origin and Muslim population reject the violent and disproportionate reactions of some Muslims to the caricatures”.[204] In the words of one expert, “Muslim youth are a bit more conservative, more religious and worse in school but otherwise not much different from others. They are relatively pleased with their lives and optimistic about the future”.[205]

To ensure that this continues, however, schools and job-training policies need to adjust. In the words of a teacher and former teachers’ union official responsible for multicultural affairs, “young men of a Muslim background have next to no chance to rise through education. It does no good to say ‘at least you get welfare’. That misses the point, and forms the core of their discouraged mentality”.[206]


A.            Representing Muslims for Religious Purposes

German governments need Muslim interlocutors to consult on a variety of policies and practices that make up state-church relations under Article 140 of the constitution. That article, carried over from the Weimar Republic, places such relations under Länder jurisdiction, and a variety of Muslim associations have been involved in informal local consultations for several years.[207] However, these consultations have suffered due to the tension between official Turkish Islam and Islamist activists. Either IGMG is excluded or DİTİB does not participate. Moreover, these councils have been ad hoc and non-binding, resembling single-issue coalitions for specific tasks such as mosque construction. Their existence is subject to the whim of local officials. An inclusive political process that affirms Muslims’ institutional equality in state-religion relations and draws on all major organisations has been missing.

Dissension among religious leaders, which local administrators fuel by favouring DİTİB, has led to continued de facto inequalities in exercise of religion. Muslim students’ rights to religion courses have been subordinated to bickering between federations, and local conflicts over mosque construction are still common. Competing Muslim associations hoping to provide Islamic education in more public schools have no incentive to cooperate since they too often receive their mandates by court order or administrative decree. Many mundane issues of policy and practice have been unattended to for years, such as standards for halal slaughter, appointment of Muslim representatives to public television and radio advisory councils and regulation of the amplified call to prayer.

Given the visibility and sensitivity of Islam in the public realm – and the long-established Jewish, Protestant and Catholic national representative councils for state-church relations – there has been a growing desire among both German administrators and leaders of Muslim religious associations for Islam to speak in a single voice on practical religious matters at the federal level. [208] Several federations in April 2005 convened 70 delegates to create a single representative but this and previous attempts were half-hearted or did not receive full government support. The ZMD former chairman said: Notwithstanding intensive efforts until the day before the [April] conference, we were unable to move DİTİB to participate.[209] In January 2006, Aiman Maziyek, ZMD general secretary, said: There have been no real incentives to unify, nor has there been much political good will”.[210]

Criteria for participation in a formal dialogue remain controversial, dominated by fear of including Islamists, which reflects the extent to which even the most banal discussions of practical religious accommodation have been influenced by Verfassungsschutz reports. The same sort of litmus test that characterises naturalisation policies influences federal officials responsible for contacts with religious leaders. Ex-Chancellor Schröder’s counter-terrorism adviser argued the time was not ripe to speak to the main contending Muslim federations: “The state must ensure that all participants are loyal to the constitution, but mainstream federations still include some representatives who are under observation by the Verfassungsschutz”.[211] A ministerial adviser in the federal chancellery said that for a Muslim leader to be given a representative role in state-Islam relations:

It is not enough to be a “nice guy” – one must also be loyal to the constitution. We need to draw a border – a no-go area – and then decide how we go about interacting with political Islamists in the grey zone. This will have implications for domestic political questions such as ‘What do you think of the role of civil society, or woman’s emancipation, or military service?’ We would also need to discuss the question of “leaving” a religious community.[212]

These are the same concerns that animated recent French and Italian “state-religion” consultations with Muslim religious leaders, which similarly came up against the reality of low membership within the federations that claimed to be representative of an entire community: only 10-20 per cent of Muslims actually affiliate with these organisations. Unlike the French Council for the Muslim Religion, which represents only prayer spaces, also at stake in German consultations are public education funds to pay for the teachers and curriculum that will influence hundreds of thousands of young Muslims’ first formal encounter with Islam. The ministerial adviser criticised the Muslim umbrella organisations as “empty shells”, while suggesting that DİTİB’s de facto monopoly over practical issues needed to end: “We cannot just speak with foreign civil servants”. The most significant obstacle, however, is the difficulty of knowing how legitimate Muslim representatives really are; “our biggest problem”, he noted, are “the unorganised masses”.[213] The North Rhine-Westphalia government has proposed bypassing the federations and negotiating religious education directly with local mosques and prayer spaces.[214]

1.             The German Islam Conference/Deutsche Islamkonferenz (DIK)

The German federal system allows variations in Länder processes and outcomes. Three offer Islamic religious instruction alongside Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism; four have plans for this. At the national level, former President Johannes Rau extended a standing invitation to the chairman of one major religious organisation, the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslimen in Deutschland, ZMD), for official receptions and later extended invitations to the chairmen of three other Muslim federations; the Verfassungsschutz and the military have met with the ZMD to discuss security matters and provision of chaplains respectively. But a report by the federal commissioner concluded in 2002: “From the government’s perspective, … non-transparent organisational structures and the lack of clear membership rules … are the biggest obstacles to granting corporation status to those who have asked for it”.[215] In fact, despite politicians’ repeated calls for a “German Islam”, there has long been a counterproductive dependence on the Turkish state.

With the government’s German Islam Conference, which opened in Berlin’s Charlottenburg Castle on 27 September 2006, there is at last a national initiative to formally recognise interlocutors for Islam. The makeup of the DIK suggests the interior ministry’s dual agenda of recognition and religious reform: fifteen representatives each of the state (federal, Länder and municipal level) and of Islam in Germany.[216] The five main Muslim federations are the Islam Council, ZMD, DİTİB, VIKZ and the Alevis, together representing perhaps 15 to 20 per cent of the Muslim population. Alongside these are ten ministerial appointees including, in Interior Minister Schäuble’s words, “representatives of a modern secular Islam from business, society, science and culture”.[217] These appointees – Muslim authors, academics, artists and entrepreneurs – include three (Seyran Ateş, Necla Kelek and Feridun Zaimoğlu) who have written books about oppressive patriarchal tendencies in traditional Turkish families.

Schäuble explained the consultation’s guiding principles in a recent interview: “Our state order is not unfamiliar with religion [but] we have the separation of state and religion. We will make constitutional standards clear in the DIK”.[218] The everyday agenda will be practically oriented. The DIK has much to recommend it as a representative body that will allow for regular discussions between Muslims and the highest administrative levels of practical policy issues relating to religious observance. The Merkel government’s decision to introduce a standard for Islamic religious education, in particular, has been welcomed across the board, from the chair of the Central Council of Jews in Germany to Schäuble’s CDU and CSU colleagues (although some contend it is properly the jurisdiction of the Länder). It expects the Muslim organisations in turn to produce a more or less united front.

The DIK is to last two to three years, after which Muslim leaders may agree to “make a kind of round table, elect a leader and rotate, along the model of the charity organisations that have several umbrella organisations”.[219] It will be divided into four 30-person working groups, to meet six times a year and issue two reports annually (the first meeting was on 8-9 November 2006 in Nuremberg; the next is planned for June 2007).[220] IGMG is to participate unofficially, represented on a working group through the Islam Council, of which it is a member.

The DIK is a radical departure for a CDU minister, comparable, an adviser to Commissioner Böhmer said, with the Nixon trip to China: “It may be easier for conservative parties to do this since they cannot be accused of naïveté”.[221] Schäuble opened his summary to the Bundestag the day after the DIK by citing the Turkish-German film director Fatih Akin: many of Germany’s Muslims “have forgotten about going back home”; they are “no longer a foreign population group”, but rather, the minister said, “have become a component of our society … their children and grandchildren have long felt themselves to be Germans of Turkish or Arab origin”. However, he added, quoting the French-Lebanese author Amin Maalouf, if a country grants recognition and acceptance, then it “also has the right to ask [Muslims] to renounce certain aspects of [their] culture”.[222]

A first opportunity to illustrate Schäuble’s point came with the uproar over cancellation of Mozart’s Idomeneo at the Deutsche Oper, within walking distance of where the DIK convened. A proposal was made that all 30 DIK members go to the opera together. The Islam Council’s representative demurred, saying that “even though it would have pleased the minister, artistic freedom doesn’t mean you have to go see everything”.[223]


Table 4: German Islam Conference (Deutsche Islam Konferenz)[224]

Official Working Groups and Themes, Fall 2006 – Fall 2008

Working Group 1: The German social order and values consensus

- e.g. Equality of man and woman; political decision-making processes; families, raising children and youth self-determination; acceptance of the diversity of democratic cultures; secularisation (criteria, tendencies, international comparison)

Working Group 2: Religious questions in the German constitutional context

- e.g. The basic principle of state-church separation; interaction with religious symbols; mosque construction; religious education in the Länder; language courses, including pre-school; equality of boys and girls and co-education (e.g. sport and swimming classes, class trips, sex education; behaviour of Muslim boys towards non-Muslim female peers); Imam training and the education of Muslim religion teachers

Working Group 3: Building bridges in the economy and the media

- e.g. youth in the job market (qualifications, etc.); hiring policies in the economy and public sector and self-employment; information policy to undo prejudices in Turkish and German media; religious and cultural identity of selected personalities and role models; forms of secular Islam

Discussion Group 4: Security and Islamism

- e.g. questions of internal security, Islamist efforts against the free democratic basic order and preventing and exposing Islamist acts of violence


The highly political character of the agendas of Working Groups 1 and 2 and Discussion Group 4 underscores the danger. There is an important distinction between representation for religious purposes and for social and political purposes but the government appears to want the DIK to combine these functions, even though its Muslim participants have no mandate from Muslims to represent them on non-religious issues. There is no obvious reason why, in a democracy, a body formed to deal with religious practices need have any wider social and political functions. By taking on such functions, the DIK will be usurping tasks properly performed by Germanys political parties and thus inhibiting them from fulfilling their necessary role in the integration process.

The government has been praised for encouraging development of a single body to represent Muslims for religious purposes. It is an open question, however, whether the DIK will become the forum for the “emancipatory march through institutions” earlier envisioned by the German-Turkish author Zafer Şenocak.[225] This is not to downplay the practical advantages the DIK offers but, as Green party politician Omid Nouripour, one of the appointees, remarked, “if intra-Muslim controversies come to further light in the public sphere, then Muslims and Germans will become more aware that there is not one Islam; that is as valuable as a contract with the state”.[226] If the DIK tries to deal with broader questions beyond religious practice, it would become political, in which case the state would in effect be institutionalising communalism among the diverse Muslim religious associations, with consequences that could be damaging, if not fatal, for integration into German society.

B.           The Slow Awakening of the Political Parties

The activity on religious accommodation highlights the slow pace of Turkish political integration. There have been a few cries from integration-minded German-Turkish politicians – in particular, within the Greens and the FDP – “to learn from the USA”, or “from the Latinos in the U.S.” and “to create political representation for Muslims”.[227] They want not distinct Turkish community institutions but rather a stronger voice within German institutions. Some young people question the value of a federal “dialogue with Islam”, especially if “it is just for the 10 per cent of practising Muslims; what about the other 90 per cent?”[228] Or, they say: “3.5 million is an important minority. Why shouldn’t they be treated secularly? Religious belonging must be a self-description. DİTİB may say that every Turk is a Muslim but I don’t say so”.[229]

With an estimated 500,000 voters, Muslims could be important in local and even national elections.[230] The Türkische Gemeinde zu Deutschland (TGD), founded in 1995 to “represent the desires and interests of German Turks”, includes 150 to 200 professional and student organisations. It claimed in 1998 that 225,000 Turkish Germans voted for the SPD-Green coalition. “We had a really slim majority at the time, and the few thousand Turkish-German votes proved very valuable and helped us to win”, said Ozan Ceyhun, in charge of mobilising Turkish Germans for the SPD in the last Bundestag election.

Others argued that in 2005 many Turkish Germans, disappointed by the SPD’s social and economic reforms and revocation of some dual nationals’ citizenship, supported the Linkspartei (Left Party).[231] Özcan Mutlu, a Berlin Green, suggested that “most Turks in Germany are very conservative; the CDU would seem to be their natural choice. But the CDU continues to turn them off with anti-Turkish politics and rhetoric”.[232] Limited studies of those with Turkish origin who express affiliations suggest this breakdown: SPD, 65 per cent; Greens, 17 per cent; CDU, 10 per cent; FDP, 5-10 per cent. But little is known about the majority of Turks and other Muslims; any claim of “ownership” of this electorate is largely unsubstantiated.[233]

True political integration needs to be followed up in the parties. Despite a handful of elected officials in the Bundestag and local government, some Turkish activists complain the parties are not doing enough. The impression is that those of Turkish origin can become candidates most easily with the Greens, FDP and Linkspartei, since they are not mass parties and so are more open to politicians with narrower appeal.[234] But attempts to involve Turks politically encounter mistrust bred of generations of exclusion and surveillance. Aiman Maziyek of the ZMD and FDP argued to Crisis Group during the “naturalisation questionnaire” debate that:

The CDU/CSU is Islamophobic and Turcophobic in fact. The Greens started off unfriendly to religion but through the peace movement they developed relationships and affinities with churches and prayer spaces. Muslims’ relatively small numbers mean they can be important for a small party like the Greens or the FDP but less so for the mass parties CDU or SPD.[235]

This takes Muslim identity politics for granted, which is far from certain: much depends on party outreach. Some observers believe the parties already are too late: “Parties are not the main actors: they do not have the highest prestige and are generally uninteresting for young people – not just Turkish youth. For [Turkish youth] in particular, though, the political culture of Merkel [CDU] and Müntefering [SPD] is quite far removed from their daily lives”.[236] Another commented: “Earlier if you were ambitious you would go to the political parties, not to the cultural or religious organisations. Now, nothing is happening in the parties, and it is [IGMG] who have excellent staff”.[237]

It is premature, however, to judge political participation among Turkish youth, since the first enfranchised generation has yet to come of age. There are also clear signs that the parties are slowly adapting to the changing environment. Nearly all now have a Turkish or Muslim section that seeks to recruit immigrant-origin citizens: the Arab Social Democrats (A-SPD) in Berlin; the Greens Immigrün; the CDU German-Turkish Forum, which counts 400 members; and the FDP’s Liberal German-Turkish group. These bodies were established by minority members to signal their party’s friendliness to voters with immigrant backgrounds; they also serve as de facto party representatives on integration issues (and, occasionally, on wider issues).

A small but significant core of individuals from Turkish and Muslim backgrounds have become elected officials. Most prominent is Cem Özdemir (B90/Greens), who served two terms in the Bundestag (1994-2002) as the first German of Turkish origin to reach national office. Now in the European Parliament, he could return to a high position in Germany. The Bundestag includes five members of Turkish origin and one of Iranian origin.[238] Four deputies of Turkish origin are in the European Parliament.[239] Several young Turkish Germans who hold national party positions and are visible in national debates[240] are complemented by a few officials in Länder parliaments.[241]

Beyond this modest but noteworthy party political presence, Germans of Turkish or Muslim background, including many who display no religious identity, are increasingly present in culture and public life. Fatih Akin’s film centred on Turkish protagonists who move between Berlin and Istanbul won the Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin film festival, for example. There are dozens of well-known authors,[242] scholars,[243] activists,[244] television anchors, actors and entertainers.[245] Murat Topal, a comedian whose day job is as a Berlin policeman, has a punch line that illustrates the occasional dissonance in everyday integration: Hes a policeman? Why, I thought he was a Turk![246]


Germany has accepted its status as a country of immigration and now is struggling to define what kind, which includes the vain hope the next generation will not have Islamic activism as an affiliation option. Rather than score rhetorical points with a hardline stance, leaders should concentrate on the practical concerns that undermine social cohesion: political alienation, overzealous policing and socio-economic inequality.

Successive governments have either been fairly lucky or impressively far-sighted with regard to spatial integration: city planners have avoided urban ghettos. The relatively small pool of potentially violent religious extremists reflects how the main ethno-national component of the migrant population, the Turkish, is neither on the verge of revolt nor particularly vulnerable to recruitment. The dividends of good fortune and prescience are not endless, however. The long refusal to acknowledge a diverse society has not been without costs. Educational and employment statistics make clear the makings of a parallel society or underclass. The disadvantaging of immigrant-origin children in secondary schools should be redressed, and programs that respond to real integration needs – from further political outreach to effective anti-discrimination measures – are required.

Some individuals may truly not wish to integrate. Famously, 21 per cent of Muslims in one poll said the Koran is not compatible with the German constitution, and 47 per cent of those of Turkish origin said they could not imagine becoming German.[247] Without giving too much credence to a single poll, it is a distinct possibility respondents took to heart decades of being told Germany is not a country of immigration and the badgering of moderate Islamists. German caution at embracing Turks as a minority community and insistence on rupture with the home country were often perceived as indifference; politicians’ repeated criticism of “parallel societies” did nothing to eliminate their existence. It remains reasonable to ask about the integration-readiness of Germans so long as a majority still agrees that “the life of a Muslim believer is not compatible with modern, Western society”.[248]

While German officials do not lack sticks, however, the best evidence of a new readiness also to offer carrots are the 2006 “summits”, one on “integration” and run out of the chancellor’s office, the other on Islam and organised by the interior ministry. These high profile meetings are necessary but no panacea. Many Länder officials dispute federal jurisdiction, since education, language courses and naturalisation are within provincial competence. But good cooperation at the federal level, especially with IGMG, could set an example for the more reticent Länder.

As the government knows, however, a conference cannot make a dent in the need for lengthy processes of mutual understanding and relationship building. Nor does the answer to Germany’s worries lie in creating a “tame” Islam. The interior minister has rightly said: “The state may not influence the theological development of Islam ….”[249] The greatest defence against religious extremism and imported fundamentalism is intensive interaction to enhance the mutual acquaintance of Muslim religious associations and the state. The solution to alienation, however, is not to encourage formation of a cohesive “faith community” in the DIK or elsewhere and so risk ethnicising socio-economic problems.

Those fundamental problems of Turkish Germans and other Muslims are rooted in disenfranchisement, social discrimination and the lack of economic and political integration, not religion. The parties and other political institutions are the proper vehicles through which to launch the assault on them, which will not only contribute to keeping society internally safe and stable; it is likely also to equip Germany over the next decade to approach with greater self-confidence vital issues of foreign policy such as the EU’s ultimate relationship with Turkey and the Middle East peace process.

 Berlin/Brussels, 14 March 2007







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[1] Theodore Karasik and Cheryl Benard, “Muslim Diasporas and Networks,” in Angel Rabasa et al. (eds.), The Muslim World After 9/11 (Washington, 2004), p. 441. Nearly a million non-Turkish Muslims have similar crosscutting identities and values. This report will refer at times to that part of the population with origins in Turkey as “Turks” both for the sake of simplicity and because it is a common designation in Germany. The reader should keep in mind, however, the national, legal and other complexities that exist within this terminology.

[2] That is, the political tradition established by Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk”, the founder of Turkey’s secular republic in 1923.

[3] For a discussion of the Salafiyya movement and the tradition of political Islamism exemplified by the Muslim Brothers, see Crisis Group Middle East & North Africa Report N°37, Understanding Islamism, 2 March 2005.

[4] “Federal Verfassungsschutzbericht für 2005”, May 2006. Crisis Group has reported frequently on Islamists and Islamism and their relationship to a wide variety of political situations around the world. We treat Islamism as synonymous with “Islamic activism”, the active assertion and promotion of beliefs, prescriptions, laws or policies that are held to be Islamic in character: see Crisis Group Middle East/North Africa Report, Understanding Islamism, op. cit. Insofar as Islam is inherently interested in matters of governance, it is intrinsically political but there are significant distinctions between those forms that privilege political activism, missionary activity or violence. Islam in Germany, particularly in connection with the Turkish community which is the primary focus of this report, does not contain a significant tendency to or high potential for violence. Consequently this report concentrates on issues related to integration of that community and other Muslims into German society.

[5] Germany tolerates dual nationality as an exception in some cases, especially where “countries of origin do not provide for renunciation of citizenship or impose prohibitive costs on their citizens when they renounce citizenship”. Albert Kraler, “The Legal Status of Immigrants” in Rainer Bauböck (ed.), Migration and Citizenship (Amsterdam, 2006), p. 59.

[6] Alevis, are the largest religious minority in Turkey, representing between 10 and 30 per cent of the population. The majority are Turkish speaking; about one fifth are Kurdish speaking and constitute a quarter of Turkey’s Kurdish population. David Zeidan, “The Alevi of Anatolia”, Middle East Review of International Affairs 3(4) (1999). Alevism has been variously held “as a heterodox sect within Islam, as Turkish Anatolian Islam, as a philosophy, as Sufi or Shiite in nature or as a syncretic mixture of elements of Islam, Christianity and Shamanism”. Gurcan Kocan and Ahmet Oncu, “Citizen Alevi in Turkey: Beyond Confirmation and Denial”, Journal of Historical Sociology 17(4) (2004), pp. 464-489. Majority Sunni views of Alevism diverge greatly: some deny its separate status within Islam; others reject Alevis as Muslims.

[7] Ruud Koopmans and Paul Statham, “Challenging the Liberal Nation-State? Postnationalism, Multiculturalism, and the Collective Claims Making of Migrants and Ethnic Minorities in Britain and Germany”, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 105, no.3 (1999), pp. 652-696. IGMG has a distinctly domestic German agenda; its leaders argue they are the only truly German federation, without a diplomatic stake or significant foreign funding.

[8] The latest ruling by the federal constitutional court, on 23 November 2006, affirmed this right.

[9] The best known instance was the headscarf case involving a schoolteacher (September 2003); the court ruled the woman did not violate any law but that new local legislation banning the headscarf was within Länder rights.

[10] The intrusive Verfassungsschutz mandate is not limited to foreigners so will remain a tool for administrative observation of opinions and activities even when most Turks or other Muslims in Germany are citizens. Crisis Group interviews, Dr Guido Steinberg, former adviser on international terrorism to the federal chancellor, Berlin, 22 December 2005; Mustafa Yeneroglu, deputy director, IGMG, Cologne, 28 December 2005; Prof. Dr. Werner Schiffauer, Viadrina University, 22 December 2005.

[11] Jesko Bender, “Konsens ist Nonsens”, Jungle World, 27 September 2006; Sigrid Averesch, “Muslime kritisieren hessischen Einbürgerungstest”, Berliner Zeitung, 17 March 2006; Joachim Peter, “Einheitliche Einbürgerungstests”, Berliner Morgenpost, 13 March 2006.

[12] Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, deputy director, IGMG, Cologne, 28 December 2005.

[13] Crisis Group telephone interview, Prof. Dr Friedrich Heckmann, director, European Forum for Migration Studies, Otto-Friedrich University (Bamberg), 6 January 2006.

[14] Thomas Gutschker, “Udo Steinbach: Der Dialog mit dem Islam ist tot”, Rheinischer Merkur, 9 February 2006.

[15] This was a West German phenomenon. While East Germany (the German Democratic Republic, GDR) imported some tens of thousands of Vietnamese, especially in the 1980s, to meet labour shortages, the inflow of Muslims was almost entirely to the Federal Republic, which is where the largest areas of concentration are still to be found.

[16] In conjunction with the oil crisis, unemployment doubled to 2.6 per cent, nearly 600,000, between 1973 and 1974, from some 150,000 at the height of the guestworker program. When the government ended the program, many “guestworkers” and their families – backed by the Constitutional Court – were already permanent residents. Successive governments offered cash incentives for return to Turkey through the 1990s but few accepted.

[17] Turkish women’s fertility rate in Germany is approximately 2.3 children (German women: 1.35; Turkish women in Turkey: 2.6). Studies estimate the rate will drop to 1.9 per woman, and the Turkish-origin population will thus grow to around three million by 2050 (though only roughly one million would still have Turkish citizenship). See Dr Ralf E. Ulrich, “Die zukünftige Bevölkerungsstruktur Deutschlands nach Staatsangehörigkeit, Geburtsort und ethnischer Herkunft: Modellrechnung bis 2050”, commissioned by the independent commission “Zuwanderung”, Berlin/Windhoek, April 2001, pp. 12, 39.

[18] As of 31 December 2003, there were 1,877,661 Turkish citizens and 565,000 naturalised Germans of Turkish origin, “Unterrichtung der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für MFI, 6. Bericht über die Lage der Ausländerinnen und Ausländer in Deutschland”, Bundestag Drucksache 15/5826, 22 June 2005; “Daten und Fakten”, Zentrum für Turkeistudien,

[19] The next largest Muslim populations are Bosnia-Herzegovina (283,000), Morocco (109,000), Iran/Iraq (125,000), Afghanistan (86,000), Pakistan (60,000), “other Arab countries” (90,000) and Africans (140,000, including Tunisia: 24,500), “Unterrichtung der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung”, op. cit. Some North Africans (e.g. Moroccans) arrived as manual labourers, but many Turkish Kurds, Bosnians, Iraqis, Iranians and Palestinians came as political asylum seekers during the 1980s and early 1990s. Turks (including Kurds) also amounted to between 10-15 per cent of asylum applicants throughout the 1990s. The aggregate Muslim population is roughly 80 per cent Sunni (2.1-2.5 million), 20 per cent Shiite (600,000–700,000) including around 500,000 Alevis and 150,000-200,000 Iranian and Turkish Shiites. Christian Troll, “A Place for Islam? Muslims in Germany today”, Hochschule Sankt Georgen, 2003, troll20.pdf .

[20] Rogers Brubaker, Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany, (Cambridge, 1992) p. 119.

[21] Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 12 January 2006; “Frühjahrsumfrage 2005”, Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv-Deutschland Stiftung.

[22] “Wie geht`s eigentlich den Muslimen in der Bundeswehr?”,, 29 April 2003; “Y” - Magazin der Bundeswehr, Heft Nr. 04/2003.

[23] The participation rate in elections for the foreigners council in North Rhine-Westphalia in 1995 was 27.4 per cent and in 1999, 14.2 per cent. See “Ausländerbeiräte zu Integrationsausschüssen weiterentwickeln”, Leitsätze des Deutsch-Türkischen Forums, CDU, no. 2, 2005.

[24] The 2000 law was passed in 1999 but came into force only the following year.

[25] “Der Fragebogen”, Berliner Zeitung, 17 March 2006; Bettina Gaus, “Volker Kauders Förmchen”, Tageszeitung, 25 July 2006.

[26] The tests trace their roots, ironically, to the SPD-Green citizenship law (1999) that requires naturalisation candidates to submit a signed acknowledgment of the free and democratic nature of German society and their “internal orientation to the Federal Republic”. Rüdiger Soldt, “Leitfragen”, and L.J., “Der Fragebogen”, both in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), 10 January 2006.

[27] Unlike Verfassungsschutz review, naturalisation tests are possible only for first-generation migrants but for now they affect the vast majority of Muslims who still do not have citizenship.

[28] Sigrid Averesch, “Muslime kritisieren hessischen Einbürgerungstest”, Berliner Zeitung, 17 March 2006.

[29] One such sample was posted January 2006 at

[30] Christine Xuân Müller and Anna Reimann, “Sonderbefragung für Muslime”, Spiegel Online, 3 January, 2006; Ridvan Çakir, “Stellungnahme des Präsidenten der DİTİB zum verschärften Einbürgerungsverfahren in Baden-Württemberg”, 1 January 2006; Oguz Ücüncü, “Von Tests und Gesinnungen”,, May 2006; “Gesinnungstest: Bis vor das Bundesverfassungsgericht wollen drei Verbände notfalls ziehen”, Pforzheimer Zeitung, 24 January 2006.

[31] This does not preclude individual Länder from adding their own requirements (though these may be challenged on constitutional grounds). “Kompromiß beim Einbürgerungstest”, FAZ, 5 May 2006; “Bundeseinheitliche Standards: Höhere Hürden für Einbürgerung”, 5 May 2006,

[32] The greatest privileges are restricted to organisations recognised as a religious community or Corporation of Public Law, a distinction awarded by Länder-level governments since the Weimar constitution. No association has convinced local administrators it is representative of all Muslims in a given Land. The 1948 Constitution (Grundgesetz, Basic Law) guarantees “freedom of belief, conscience, and the freedom of religious and world perspective (weltanschaulich) awareness” and “undisturbed religious exercise” (Article 4, sections 1 and 2). Additionally, Article 7 section 3 allows for religious education in public schools as a regular course (although some Länder have modifed this to include philosophy and ethics). See

[33] Martin Spiewak, “Vorbeter aus der Fremde”, Die Zeit, 21 September 2006.

[34] Christiane Schlötze, “Die Türkei zwischen Islam und westlicher Moderne”, FAZ, 19 December 2001.

[35] Martin Spiewak, “Vorbeter aus der Fremde”, Die Zeit, 21 September 2006.

[36] Dilek Zaptcioglu, “Turkey’s religion council: setting guidelines for Islam and politics”,, October 2004.

[37] Ibid.

[38]Zentrum für Turkeistudien, 1/2004.

[39] Martin Spiewak, “Vorbeter aus der Fremde”, Die Zeit, 21 September 2006.

[40] Annual costs in Baden-Württemburg are estimated to be as high as €3.6 million. See Valerie Amiraux, Acteurs de l’islam entre Allemagne et Turquie (Paris, 2001); Thomas Lemmen, Islamische Organisationen in Deutschland (Bonn, 2000); Brigitte Maréchal, “Mosquées, organisations et leadership”, in Felice Dassetto et al. (eds.), Convergences Musulmanes: aspects contemporains de l’islam dans l’Europe élargie, (Louvain-la-Nueve, 2001), p. 32.

[41] Vedat Acikgöz, “College launches disputed Islamic program”,, 27 March 2005.

[42] Crisis Group interview, Mehmet Yildirim, general secretary, DİTİB, Cologne, 4 January 2006.

[43] Katrin Teschner, “Imam sind wichtige Vermittler”,, 30 October 2006.

[44] Katherine Pratt Ewing, “Living Islam in the Diaspora: between Turkey and Germany”, South Atlantic Quarterly, 102: 2/3 Spring/Summer (2003). Reports in 1994 claimed the DİTİB’s main mosque was used as a Turkish secret service base and that DİTİB imams reported three times a year on their congregants’ lives, especially those of Kurdish Turks. Amiraux, op. cit., p. 103.

[45] Crisis Group interview, Bekir Alboga, spokesman, DİTİB, Cologne, 4 January 2006. In an interview, Alboga denied DİTİB was controlled by the Turkish government: “We do not represent Diyanet in Ankara, but we work very closely together with it. Only one of our board members is a Diyanet employee. We request imams from Diyanet, who stay here for three-four years”, see Kükrekol, “DİTİB: wir sind bereit, alle Muslime zu vertreten”, FAZ, 8 February 2005.

[46] Alboga told Crisis Group DİTİB “represents between 65-80 per cent of Turkish-origin Muslims in Germany, plus Balkan and Central Asian Muslims, plus a certain number of Arabs”, Crisis Group interview, Bekir Alboga, spokesman, DİTİB, Cologne, 4 January 2006.

[47] Crisis Group interview, Wael el Gayar, Islam analysis unit, interior ministry, Arab-SPD member, Berlin, 5 January 2006.

[48] Crisis Group interview, Turkish-German political expert, Berlin, 8 January 2006. Like mainstream Shiites, Alevis grant a central role to Ali, the Prophet Mohammed’s son-in-law, but they also incorporate aspects of Sunni doctrine and even certain elements of non-Muslim religious doctrines (especially Christianity) in their belief system and rituals; they conduct egalitarian prayer services and generally do not wear headscarves. Alevis teach Muslim religion in public schools in five Länder.

[49] Ibid.

[50] Crisis Group interview, Mehmet Yildirim, general secretary, DİTİB, Cologne, 4 January 2006.

[51] That said, DİTİB is a registered German association.

[52] Pascal Beucker, “Schöner integrieren mit Erdogan”, Tagesszeitung, 3 July 2006; Thomas Sigmund, “Islam-Verbände fehlen beim Integrationsgipfel”, Handelsblatt, 5 July 2006

[53] Only DİTİB’s spokesman was allowed to join Interior Minister Schäuble in his press conference following the DIK’s first meeting in September 2006.

[54] 309,000 is the lowest estimate for members of umbrella organisations; the interior ministry recently raised its high-end estimate from 500,000 to 800,000. The highest estimate of regular mosque-goers is 500,000. “Neue Daten zum Islam in Deutschland,”, 23 October 2003,; for the recent interior ministry estimate, see Jörg Lau, “Einbürgerung einer Religion”, Die Zeit, 21 September 2006

[55] Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 12 January 2006. In the few existing quantitative studies, Muslim youths indicate a higher “significance of religion” than non-Muslims. According to the federal commissioner’s report, 90 per cent of Turks describe themselves as Muslim believers (p. 220), though only 12 per cent of Muslim girls surveyed wear a headscarf (p. 223). The Centre for Turkish Studies (ZfT) found that 42 per cent said they went to a mosque once a week; 20 per cent never; 7 per cent on holidays and 12 per cent often. Other polls have similarly found that Turks in Germany seem to be praying more, or at least declaring themselves to be more observant: two studies by the Zentrum für Türkeistudien (ZfT) found that those describing themselves as “very religious” or “rather religious” rose from 72.2 per cent in 2000 to 83.4 per cent in 2005; this was especially so for those under 30, who grew from 63 to 79 per cent. See also “Religiöser Praxis und organisatorische Vertretung türkischstämmiger Muslime in Deutschland”, Centre for Turkish Studies, Essen, and “Religiöser Praxis, organisatorische Einbindung, Einstellungen”, Centre for Turkish Studies, Essen, 2005, pp. 20, 28.

[56] On the Muslim Brotherhood, see Crisis Group Middle East and North Africa Briefing N°12, Islamism in North Africa I: The Legacies of History, 20 April 2004.

[57] The first generation of Islamist organisers arrived as students in the 1960s and 1970s to pursue advanced studies in medicine and engineering. These (mostly) Arab leaders were often exiles from repressive secularist regimes in the Arab-Muslim world (e.g. Egypt, Iraq, Syria), and they founded many “Muslim student organisations” that are still active today. See Ian Johnson, “How a Mosque for ex-Nazis became centre of radical Islam”, Wall Street Journal, 12 July 2005; also Lorenzo Vidino, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s conquest of Europe”, Middle East Quarterly, winter 2005, vol. 12, no. 1.

[58] The membership figures in table 2 do not always allow for direct comparisons of size and influence; IG-Deutschland’s 600 members are those listed in the organisation registry, for example, whereas IGMG’s more than 26,000 are based on estimates by German security officials. Ulrich Dehn, “Neue Daten zum Islam in Deutschland”, Evangelische Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen, October 2003; Faruk Sen, “Türkische Minderheit in Deutschland”, Information zur politischen Bildung, Heft 277.

[59] “ZMD reagiert auf Report-Sendung”, 24 July 2003,

[60] Islamische Zeitung, October 2003, p. 15.

[61] Its Turkish name is Islam Kültür Merkezleri Birliği (IMKB).

[62] Süleyman (1888-1959) was a preacher who fought against Atatürk’s religious reforms in Turkey; while not permitted to deliver sermons, he was allowed to establish Koranic schools, Jochen Blaschke, “Islam und Politik unter türkischen Arbeitsmigranten”, in Jochen Blaschke et al. (eds.), Islam und Politik in der Türkei (Berlin, 1989), p. 315; Jochen Blaschke et al. (eds.), State Policies towards Muslim Minorities in Sweden, Great Britain and Germany (Berlin, 2004), p. 106.

[63] IR’s membership overlaps with that of the Islamische Konzil (IK), the ex-local affiliate of the Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE), founded in Frankfurt 1989. It has ideological links with the Muslim World League (Mecca) and the Muslim Brothers.

[64] See Amiraux, op. cit, p.100; Pratt Ewing, op. cit.

[65] “Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Gorus”, innenministerium Nordrhein-Westfalen,; IGMG controls 514 prayer associations across Europe and claims 210,000 dues-paying members on the continent, “Verfassungsschutzbericht”, 2005, p. 223.

[66] Udo Steinbach, Islamische Organisationen in Deutschland (Hamburg, 1997), p. 40.

[67] Crisis Group interview, Eberhard Schenck, Hauptschullehrer Kreuzberg/Steglitz, Berlin, 3 January 2006.

[68] Amiraux, op. cit, p. 100; Hamburg Verfassungsschutz, 2005; Pratt Ewing, op. cit.

[69] Pratt Ewing, op. cit.; Crisis Group interview, security officials North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December 2005.

[70] Crisis Group interviews, security officials, North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December 2005.

[71] Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, research director, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 12 January 2006.

[72] Speech, on occasion of presentation of Verfassungsschutz 2005 report, Berlin, 22 May 2006.

[73] Welt am Sonntag, 28 May 2006.

[74] “Interview mit Bayerns Innenminister Beckstein”, Spiegel Online, 11 January 2006. Apart from conservative politicians, relatively few have tried to fan such flames, although prominent weekly newspapers have published articles warning against “appeasement” of “Islamo-fascist” terrorism in Europe and the Middle East. Josef Joffe, “The Offensive of Islamo-Fascism”, Die Zeit, 18 March, 2004; “We have enemies! And they want to subjugate or kill us”, Welt am Sonntag, 24 July, 2006.

[75] A Berlin woman who had converted to Islam posted a message to a website seeking information on how to become a suicide bomber in Iraq, Spiegel Online, 30 May 2006.

[76] A 2005 study of 373 international terrorists found that 9 per cent had passed through or lived in Germany, but none were of German Turkish origin, Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke, Nixon Center; Nikola Busse, FAZ, 22 July, 2005.

[77] Crisis Group interview, Dr Werner Schiffauer, Viadrina University, Berlin, 22 December 2005; Crisis Group interview, security officials, North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December 2005.

[78] Peter Waldmann, Welt am Sonntag, 21 August 2005.

[79] His accomplice, 21-year old Jihad Hamad, turned himself in to authorities in Lebanon six days later, 24 August 2006,

[80] The authorities suspected a Lebanese connection due to the contents of one suitcase: Lebanese spice packets and a note with Lebanese telephone numbers, Spiegel Online, 18 August, 2006.

[81] Crisis Group interview, Dr Guido Steinberg, former terrorism adviser to Chancellor Schröder, Berlin, 22 December 2005.

[82] The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), the separatist movement led by Abdullah Öcalan until his arrest, was banned in 1993; its members were thought to number around 9,000 and its sympathizers around 50,000.

[83] For a discussion of the Sunni fundamentalist Jama’at al-Da’wa wa ‘l-Tabligh (Group for Preaching and Propagation), see Crisis Group Report, Understanding Islamism, op. cit.

[84] Crisis Group interview, Dr Guido Steinberg, Berlin, 22 December 2005. “Vier Jahre Guantanamo – und keine Beweise. Auszüge aus dem US-Verhörprotokoll des ‘Bremer Taliban’”, Berliner Zeitung, 11 March 2006. There has been domestic outcry over participation of German security agents in U.S. interrogations of Khaled Al-Masri and Murat Kurnaz in Afghanistan (before Kurnaz’s deportation to Guantanamo) and of Mohammed Haidar Sammar in Syria, as there was over the involvement of German intelligence officers in identifying bombing targets for U.S.-led forces in Iraq in 2003.

[85] See Guido Steinberg, “Terror: Europas internes Problem”, Internationale Politik, November 2005; Verfassungsschutz report 2004, North Rhine-Westphalia.

[86] See “Terrorism Report”, U.S. State Department, p. 102; FAZ, 13 January 2005., 28 July, 2005. Legal obstacles have hindered Germany’s international counter-terrorism cooperation: membership of a foreign terrorist organisation only became a crime after 11 September 2001; the foreign nationality of terrorism suspects who are long-term German residents weakens the government’s legal status in bilateral negotiations; the refusal of German judges to lower standards for evidentiary rules and torture has understandably slowed prosecution of 11 September conspirators. (Depositions from al-Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody -- Khaled Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, in particular -- are widely thought to have been obtained under duress or torture.) In other cases, the U.S. has not furnished witnesses in its custody to German courts.

[87] “Deutscher Islamist wird freigelassen”, 28 January 2004,

[88] The New York Times, 6 February 2004

[89] “Profile: Mounir el Motassadeq”, CNN, 19 February 2003, and BBC News Online, 19 August 2006.

[90] Ralf Wiegand, “Motassedeq-Verfahren bis zuletzt schwierig”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 9 January 2007.

[91] Der Tagesspiegel, 22 September, 2001; Focus, 12 August, 2006

[92] Lukas Wallraff, “Verdächtigt, verschleppt, verurteilt”, Die Tageszeitung, 12 February 2007.

[93] Berliner Zeitung, 11 March 2006; Der Spiegel, 27 March 2006

[94] Florian Güßgen, “Geheimpapiere widerlegen Steinmeier”, Stern, 24 January 2007.

[95] Al-Masri was a member of Multikulti Haus, a Munich Muslim association banned in December 2005 for encouraging members to fight in Chechnya and Iraq; he was acquainted with a man under suspicion for links to the 2002 terrorist attacks in Bali. See Der Tagesspiegel, 23 December 2005, 23 June 2006; Wall Street Journal, 29 December 2005; Die Zeit, 1 June 2006; New York Times, 2 June 2006; Matthias Gebauer, “Deutsche Justiz jagt CIA-Kommando”, Der Spiegel, 31 January 2007.

[96] Die Zeit, 17 August, 2006.

[97] “Türken und Deutsche in Hamburg: Gemeinsam für die Demokratie!”, Freie und Hansastadt Hamburg Behörde für Inneres, Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, January 2005.

[98] Crisis Group interview, security officials North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December, 2005.

[99] Welt am Sonntag, 28 May 2006.

[100] Verfassungsschutzbericht, 2005, p. 199.

[101] “Türken und Deutsche in Hamburg”, op. cit.

[102] Rita Breuer, “Bildungs- und Sozialarbeit islamistischer Organisationen – Einstieg in die Radikalisierung?” in “Feindbilder und Radikalisierungsprozesse”, Bundesministerium des Innern, June 2005.

[103] “Politischen Islamismus bekämpfen -- Verfassungstreue Muslime unterstützen”, Antrag CDU/CSU Bundestag Drucksache 15/4260.

[104] See “Verfassungsschutzbericht 2005”; Länder-level offices also release biannual reports on these and other organisations

[105] The 24 organisations had 31,800 members in 2004, “Verfassungsschutzbericht 2005”, May 2006.

[106] Iranians were 150 and “other nationalities” 1,350. By comparison, foreign leftist extremists in Bavaria were 17,290, foreign extreme nationalists 8,430, “Bericht”, LfV Bayern, p. 160.

[107] On the arrival of the Muslim Brothers in Germany, see Ian Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 12 July, 2005; also Middle East Quarterly, winter 2005, vol.12, no.1.

[108] “Half-year report 2005”, Bayern Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz, p. 16.

[109] “LandesVerfassungsschutzbericht 2004”, North Rhine-Westphalia, p. 142; It is also known as the Kaplan-Verband after its leader, Metin Kaplan. Crisis Group interview, Dr Werner Schiffauer, Viadrina University, 22 December, 2005.

[110] “Profile: The Caliph of Cologne”,

[111] Turkish Daily News, 1 December 2005. 

[112] In November 2005, a Turkish court overturned the life sentence on procedural grounds; in mid-2006 another court allowed a retrial, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 28 April 2006.

[113] “2004 Bericht “, Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Bayern, p. 199; Die Welt, 24 July 2006.

[114] The mosque’s Ayatollah Seyyed Abbas Ghaemmaghami has attracted the authorities’ attention for the IZH’s sponsorship of “Al-Quds Day” (Jerusalem day, initiated in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomenei), an anti-Zionist demonstration held in Berlin and several other cities annually. Palestinian and Lebanese organisations gathered several thousand demonstrators against Israel in Berlin in July 2006; some participants displayed Hezbollah insignia and posters of Sheikh Nasrallah. See Udo Walter, “Beispiel Al-Quds-Tag: Islamistische Netzwerke und Ideologien unter Migrantinnen und Migranten in Deutschland und Möglichkeiten zivilgesellschaftlicher Inteverntion”, Beauftrage der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration, Berlin, November 2004, and Tageszeitung, 19 July 2006.

[115] “2004 Bericht” Bayern, op. cit., p.199; on the GSPC and its pursuit of “an internationalisation through [the Moroccan] diaspora”, see Guido Steinberg, Die Netzwerke des islamistischen Terrorismus (Munchen, 2005), pp. 238-240.

[116] In Berlin, for example, where 4,000 of 220,000 Muslims are considered Islamists, just 50 are thought to be “ready to commit violence”. In Hamburg, the numbers are 1,500 Islamists out of roughly 100,000 Muslims, of whom 200 are potentially violent.

[117] “2005 Bericht”, Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Bayern, p. 22-23.

[118] Crisis Group telephone interview, with Prof. Dr Friedrich Heckmann, director, European Forum for Migration Studies, Otto-Friedrich University (Bamberg), 6 January 2006.

[119] Dr Friedrich Heckmann, a university specialist and interior ministry consultant, supports this finding with a line from the Federal Verfassungsschutz report in 2002: “It does not follow that all IGMG members pursue or support Islamist goals”. “Islamische Milieus: Rekrutierungsfeld für islamistische Organisationen?”, Symposium des Bundeamtes für Verfasungsschutz, “politischer Exztremismus in der Ära der Glabalisierung”, Cologne, 20 June, 2002.

[120] Crisis Group interview, Dr Werner Schiffauer, university specialist and interior ministry consultant, Viadrina University, 22 December, 2005.

[121] See, for example,”Durchsuchung der Frankfurter Moschee war rechtswidrig”,, 13 November 2002; Ahmad von Denffer, “Moscheerazzia in München -- was ist der eigentliche Skandal?”, 28 April 2005

[122] Crisis Group interview, Dr Werner Schiffauer, university specialist and interior ministry consultant, Viadrina University, 22 December 2005.

[123] “Interview mit Mustafa Yoldas: ‘Hoffentlich keine politischen Absichten’”, Islamische Zeitung, September 2005.

[124] Crisis Group interview, Lydia Nofal, managing director, Inssan e.V., Berlin, 5 January 2006.

[125] Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, deputy director, IGMG, Cologne, 28 December 2005.

[126] Crisis Group interview, Dr Werner Schiffauer, Viadrina University, 22 December 2005.

[127] Klaus Wolschner, “Was ist die Alternative zum Dialog?”, Tageszeitung-Bremen, 12 June 2003; Jan Thomsen, “Der Fall Tasci bringt Körting in Erklärungsnot”, 26 January 2006; Werner Schiffauer, “Milli Görüş: the right to be different”, www.; Schiffauer, “Verfassungsschutz und islamische Gemeinden”, in U.E. Kemmesies (ed.) Terrorismus und Extremismus – der Zukunft auf der Spur (Munich, 2006); Kawe, “Eckhoff-Milli Görüş 0:4”, Tageszeitung, 29 May, 2004.

[128] Pratt Ewing, op. cit.

[129] “Verfassungsschutz NRW räumt Verbreitung von Unwahrheiten ein”,, November 2005; “Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüş: Klage teilweise erfolgreich”, Bayerisches Verwaltungsgericht München, Pressemitteilung vom Montag, 22. May 2006; “Freistaat Bayern unterliegt im Rechtsstreit gegen die IGMG”, 22 May 2006,

[130] “There are 200 cases of IGMG employee naturalisation requests being turned down; the judge asks “can you tell me that you are for the equality of men and women?”. We tend to lose the cases in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hessen but win them elsewhere”, Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, IGMG deputy director, Cologne, 28 December, 2005. An administrative court in Hessen recently ruled four members could keep German citizenship even though membership in an organisation under observation by the Verfassungsschutz potentially nullified the “declaration of loyalty” they had signed on naturalisation; this led local SPD and Green officials to propose a new procedure to prevent “extremists” from becoming citizens. Ekrem Senol, “Forderungen nach Verschärfung der Einbuurgerungsverfahren”, 21 January 2007,

[131] Crisis Group interviews, security officials North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December 2005.

[132] Scherf was ridiculed in a ZDF television program, “Naïve Tolerance”, suggesting he had invited “fundamentalists into the heart of state institutions”. The network’s 77-member board of directors included no Muslim (though by law it included other religious community leaders).

[133] Crisis Group telephone interview, Aiman Maziyek, FDP/ZMD, 11 January 2006.

[134] El-Zayat, of Egyptian background, is married to the sister of the IGMG leader; Lars von Törne, “Noch ein Moscheenstreit”, Der Taggesspiegel, 30 July, 2006.

[135] Heinrich Wefing, “Moschee abgelehnt”, FAZ, 4 August 2006.

[136] Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, IGMG deputy director, Cologne, 28 December, 2005; Pratt Ewing, op. cit.

[137] FAZ, 9 February, 2005.

[138] “IGMG verurteilt Selbstmordattentat in Israel”,, 18 May, 2006.

[139] “Lehnart will keinen Dialog mit Milli Görüş,”, 24 June 2006,

[140] Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, IGMG deputy director, Cologne, 28 December 2005.

[141] Wolfgang Schäuble, “Integration in die Gesellschaft – Funktioniert ein multikulturelles Deutschland?”, speech to business leaders, 27 June 2006 (

[142] Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde, “Wer ist das Volk? Rogers Brubakers Vergleich französischer und deutscher Staatsangehörigkeit”, FAZ, 11 April 1995.

[143] Crisis Group interview, Veysal Özcan, European Parliament staffer (B90/Greens), 11 January 2006.

[144] FAZ, 1 February 2006. His formal title is Minister for Generations, Family, Women and Integration.

[145] Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (SPD-affiliated think tank), Berlin, 12 January 2006.

[146] Die Tageszeitung, 13 November 2005.

[147] 60,000 Turkish businesses – by far the most entrepreneurial group of immigrant origin – employ several hundred thousand individuals (only 10 per cent family members). By comparison, some 50,000 Italians and 27,000 Greeks own their own businesses. See “Bericht der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration über die Lage des Ausländerinnen und Ausländer in Deutschland”, Berlin, August 2005, pp. 85-88.

[148] The highest geographic concentrations of immigrants with a Muslim background are in North Rhine-Westphalia (Düsseldorf/Cologne, one million); Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart, 500,000); Bavaria (Munich, 350,000); Hessen (Frankfurt, 300,000); Berlin (220,000); Lower Saxony (200,000); Rheinland-Pfalz (100,000); Hamburg (80,000); Schleswig-Holstein (50,000); Bremen (35,000).

[149] Die Welt, 30 January 2006. The Hoover Realschule in Berlin-Wedding was given a national award for pioneering this trend.

[150], 12 June 2006.

[151] Though the commissioner oversees 200 local integration commissioners, her office has a staff of only five; her portfolio has been upgraded but the position might be more effective if in the interior ministry rather than that for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

[152] The SPD criticised this proposal as creating the impression that “the migration of Muslim women should basically be prevented”. Berliner Zeitung, 18 March 2006.

[153] CSU leader Edmund Stoiber, governor of Bavaria, announced that all foreign children will be tested at age five to determine German language skills; those who fail will take a 160-hour course in the final year before entering elementary school. There are 724 such courses in Bavaria with nearly 7,000 foreign five-year olds enrolled,, 18 May 2006.

[154] Associated Press, 4 April 2006.

[155]Spiegel Online, 4 April 2006. Deportation has not been a realistic option since the case of Mehmet in Bavaria (1998-2000), when a recidivist fourteen-year old was sent “home” to Turkey. Since then, the courts have recognised a new category of “de facto national” (faktisch Inländer), preventing deportation of most long-term migrants. See Bundesverwaltungsgericht, BVerwG1 C 5.04, VGH 10S 1610/03, 6 October 2005; Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim, Wir und die Anderen (Frankfurt, 2004).

[156] Berliner Zeitung, 18 March 2006.

[157] Half the students will be newly arrived foreigners with limited resident permits, the rest ethnic German “late settlers” from the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, who enjoy a “right of return”, in addition to any long-term residents (i.e. who arrived before 2004) deemed to need the courses. The policy distinguishes between those who have the right to take the course and those who must. Veronika Kabis, “Sprachförderung im Vergleich”, Integration in Deutschland, 31 March 2006; Martin Zwick, “Weg aus der Sprachlosigkeit”, Integration in Deutschland, 30 November 2004.

[158] It has proved easier to make pronouncements about getting tough than to implement them. In 2005, 215,651 were invited to enrol in a federal integration program (including 98,000 new foreign migrants, 40,000 ethnic German migrants and 56,000 long-term migrants); only 115,158 attended. Of 28,898 who completed a course in 2005, only 12,151 passed the exam. For details on courses, see Erika Hoffmann, “Schlüsselrolle der Mütter”, Integration in Deutschland, 31 March 2006; also Tanja Wunderlich, “Steuerung statt Scheuklappen”, Das Parlament, 15 January 2007.

[159] Jörg Schönbohm, “Multikulti ist am Ende”,, 7 July 2007.

[160] Crisis Group telephone interview, Dr Herbert Müller, Baden-Württenburg Verfassungsschutz, 30 December 2005.

[161] SPD party leaders assert that “we do not close our eyes to problems and conflicts”, while insisting that “the [CDU/CSU’s] image of a unitary homogeneous society is an illusion”. 10 July 2006,

[162] Some leaders – such as Ronald Pofala and Edmund Stoiber – seem to oppose any integration standards short of full cultural assimilation. Another CDU politician, Armin Laschet, the country’s first integration minister (North Rhine-Westphalia), promises a fight among conservatives: “Every naturalisation is a success for integration”. Die Presse, 13 July 2006.

[163] “Faire Chancen, klare Regeln. Ohne Angst und Träumereien – gemeinsam in Deutschland leben. Leitlinen zur Integrationspolitik”, 10 July 2006,

[164] Katajun Amirpur, “Feinbild Islam”, Tageszeitung, 5 December 2005; “Raddatz: Muslimischen Gemeinschaften Grenzen klar machen”,, 26 April 2006; Christine Schirrmacher, “Herausforderung Islam: sind wir darauf vorbereitet?”, 28 April 2006.

[165] Wolfgang Günter Lerch, “Eine Aufgabe von Generationen”, FAZ, 16 July 2006.

[166] Kelek’s message has been widely promoted, from the editorial board of the FAZ to former Interior Minister Otto Schily and the Baden-Württemberg office that asked her to help draft its “Muslim questionnaire”; she and Ateş were invited as representatives of “secular, modern Islam” to the interior ministry’s German Islam Conference in September 2006. Her opponents complain of “unscientific” and “sensational pamphlets which inflate individual experiences and single cases into a societal problem”, without statistics or other quantification of the problem. See Mark Terkessidis, Yasemin Karakasoglu et al., “Gerechtigkeit für die Muslime!”, Die Zeit, 1 February 2006; Katajun Amirpur, “Feinbild Islam”, Tageszeitung, 5 December 2005; and Alexandra Senfft, “Provokation als Strategie zur Befreiung”, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung ­ Auslandsinformationen, November 2005.

[167] FAZ, 17 May 2006; the methodology of this poll was disputed, see Islamische Zeitung, 17 May 2006.

[168] “Europe’s Muslims More Moderate”, Thirteen-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, 22 June 2006,

[169] Crisis Group interview, Heidrun Tempel, adviser on religious communities, federal chancellery, Berlin, 12 January 2006.

[170] Crisis Group interview, Wael el Gayar, Islam analysis unit, interior ministry, Arab SPD member, Berlin, 5 January 2006.

[171] Jörg Schönbohm, a CDU leader in Brandenburg, said, “we live in Germany, not ‘multi-kulti-stan’”, quoted in Dietmar Neurer, “Schönbohm legt Muslimen Ausreise nahe”,, 31 March 2006.

[172] Hans Ulrich Wehler, “Amerikanischer Nationalismus, Europa, der Islam und der 11. September 2001”, Jahresempfang der Universität Bielefeld, 14 June 2002.

[173] A senior researcher on integration policies at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (SPD) warned of further social alienation as a result of administrative practices: “Continued scapegoating and exclusion by conservatives could accelerate the social decline of Muslims in Germany”. Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, Berlin, 12 January 2006. A foreign ministry official suggested some Länder may be “making a mistake by tying citizenship to a values hierarchy”. Crisis Group Interview, Gabriella Guellil, deputy director, “Dialogue with the Islamic World”, Berlin, 5 January 2006.

[174] School children from Muslim families are 6 per cent of the national student body. North Rhine-Westphalia (Dusseldorf, Cologne) had approximately 256,000 such children in 2002/2003, 8.9 per cent of all its students; that went up to 11.2 per cent in 2006/2007, although the overall number stayed approximately the same; Hessen (Frankfurt), has 70,000 (7.9 per cent), Baden-Württemberg (Stuttgart) and Bavaria (Munich), have 65,000 each (5 and 3.5 per cent respectively). See Der Spiegel, 17 February 2003; Johannes Kandel, “Islamischer Religionsunterricht in Berlin: kontroversen um religöse Bildung und Islamismus”, Fazetten der Islamismus, Berlin, August 2002; and “Schüler in NRW im Schuljahr 2006/2007 nach Religionszugehörigkeit”, Landesamt für Datenverarbeitung und Statistik, North Rhine-Westphalia, January 2007; also Maria Böhmer, “Bundesregierung setzt Schwerpunkt bei Integration”, speech, 5 April 2006,

[175] Out of roughly 78,000 total family reunifications per year, “Daten – Fakten – Trends: Migrationsgeschehen”, Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration und Flüchtlinge (2004),   p. 31.

[176] The 2000 citizenship law lowered the age of children in Turkey who could join their parents in Germany from sixteen to twelve. Ingrid M. Müller, “Migration in Deutschland und in einigen anderen Ländern, Abhandlung für den Gebrauch an der Schule”, Staatsinstitut für Schulqualität und Bildungsforschung, Arbeitsbericht nr. 275, München 2005,   p. 32; “Turkish Diaspora in Germany”,, October 2004.

[177] “Where immigrant students succeed – A comparative review of performance and engagement in PISA 2003”, OECD, 2006.

[178] Janina Söhn and Veysel Özcan, “The Educational Attainment Of Turkish Migrants In Germany”, Turkish Studies, vol. 7, no. 1 (March 2006), pp. 101–124; Georg Auernheimer, “Land der begrenzten Möglichkeiten”, Freitag, no.45 (2005).

[179] “Where immigrant students succeed”, op. cit.; Deutsche Presse Agentur, 30 October 2005.

[180] Turks account for some half of all foreign students; their largest numbers are in Düsseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt.

[181] “In 2000, 56.3 per cent of three-year olds attended kindergarten, but only 47.1 per cent of foreign three-year olds. More than half the foreign children in kindergarten entered intermediate or higher secondary school tracks but only 21.3 per cent of those who did not attend kindergarten”, Söhn and Özcan, op. cit.

[182] Georg Auernheimer, “Unser Bildungssystem – für die Einwanderungsgesellschaft disfunktional”, October 2004, publikationen/bildungssystem.html.

[183] Hauptschule and Realschule graduates can go to university through continuing education programs but “the certificate of the lowest track (Hauptschule), acquired after the ninth or tenth grade, has been greatly devalued over the last decades, putting young adults in an unfavourable position when applying either for vocational training or a qualified job. The intermediate type of secondary education, Realschule, … ensures better prospects for vocational training. Comprehensive schools (Gesamtschule) … in some Länder. … integrate these three different tracks, facilitating movement between them. … It varies according to Länder legislation whether the child’s performance is the decisive factor [to enter a given track] and whether parents have to follow the recommendation of the schools regarding their children’s placement.” Söhn and Özcan, op. cit.

[184] “Daten und Fakten”, Zentrum für Türkeistudien, Turks must often pay a higher “foreigners” tuition than German classmates; the CDU government in Hessen recently raised fees to €1,500 for non-EU students (it is €500 for Germans).

[185] They accounted for more than one third of the Chinese population, “Ausländische Studierende nach Herkunft –Mikrozensus des Statistischen Bundesamtes”, Integration in Deutschland, March 2006, p. 19.

[186] Söhn and Özcan, op. cit.

[187] Ibid.

[188] Georg Auernheimer, “Unser Bildungssystem – für die Einwanderungsgesellschaft disfunktional”,, October 2004; Lisa Britz, “Bildung und Integration”, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 15 March 2005.

[189] Crisis Group interview, Veysal Özcan, European Parliament staffer (B90/Greens), Berlin, 11 January 2006.

[190] Söhn and Özcan, op. cit.

[191] “Berufsausbildung als Schlüssel zur Integration”, Informationen der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration, Presseerklärung, 29 May 2006.

[192] Berliner Morgenpost, 20 January 2006. In 2004, they held 1,239 of 31,229 apprenticeships in industry and commerce. The most popular among foreign students were hairstyling (234), retail sales (160), nursing (147) and working with professional chefs (103).

[193] Crisis Group Europe Report N°172, La France Face À Ses Musulmans: émeutes, jihadisme et dépolitisation, 9 March 2006.

[194] Olivier Roy, “Al Qaida, label ou organisation?”, Le Monde Diplomatique, September 2004.

[195] “German Muslims feel strong ties to Germany and countries of origin”, U.S. Department of State, 24 May 2005.

[196] Berliner Morgenpost, 20 January 2006.

[197] Crisis Group interview, Mustafa Yeneroglu, deputy director, IGMG, Cologne, 28 December 2005.

[198] Crisis Group interview, Bekir Alboga, spokesman, DİTİB, Cologne, 4 January 2006.

[199] Ibid.

[200] “German Muslims feel strong ties to Germany”, op. cit.

[201] Crisis Group interview, security officials, North Rhine-Westphalia, 28 December 2005.

[202] Ibid.

[203] According to Ayyub Axel Köhler, the convert to Islam who heads the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, “we must de-escalate the situation. It might be easier to do that in Germany than in other countries”. The New York Times, 8 February 2006; see also Der Tagesspiegel, 12 February 2006.

[204] Die Welt, 9 February 2006. During a hostage crisis in Iraq around the same time, the ZMD’s former chairman, the Saudi-German doctor, Nadeem Elyas, offered to take the German hostage’s place, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19 December 2005.

[205] Crisis Group telephone interview, Prof. Dr Friedrich Heckmann, director, European Forum for Migration Studies, Otto-Friedrich University (Bamberg), 6 January 2006. See also Friedrich Heckmann and Dominique Schnapper (eds.), The Integration of Immigrants in European Societies. National Differences and Trends of Convergence (Stuttgart, 2003).

[206] Die Tageszeitung, 13 November 2005.

[207] In Hamburg, Hessen, Lower Saxony, Berlin, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg.

[208] On the first anniversary of the 11 September attacks, then Interior Minister Otto Schily announced an inter-ministerial working group on Islam to meet periodically and resolve issues regarding Muslim religious practices. This involved three of the four major federations (IGMG excluded) and representatives from all ministries having anything to do with Islam, including agriculture (animal slaughter), construction (prayer space) interior and the chancellor’s office. It aimed to deepen coordination among the individual Länder and eventually lead to a common federal policy toward Islam.

[209] See Nadeem Elyas, “Vorhaben von muslimischer Seite”, in “Islam einbürgern – Auf dem Weg zur Anerkennung muslimischer Vertretungen in Deutschland”, Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Migration, Flüchtlinge und Integration, Berlin 2005.

[210] Crisis Group telephone interview, Aiman Maziyek, FDP/ZMD, 11 January 2006.

[211] Crisis Group interview, Dr Guido Steinberg, former adviser to the federal chancellor on international terrorism, Berlin, 22 December 2005.

[212] Crisis Group interview, Heidrun Tempel, adviser on religious communities, federal chancellery, Berlin, 12 January 2006.

[213] Ibid.

[214] “20-Punkte-Aktionsplan Integration”, Landesregierung Nordrhein-Westfalen,, 27 June 2006.

[215] “Bericht über die Lage der Auslaender in Deutschland”, Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Ausländerfragen, August 2002.

[216] Welt am Sonntag, 28 May 2006.

[217] Wolfgang Schäuble, “Regierungserklärung”, Deutsche Islam Konferenz,, 28 September 2006.

[218] Jann Rübel, “Sind die Muslime ein Stück Deutschland, Herr Schäuble?”, Welt am Sonntag, 28 May 2006.

[219] Crisis Group interview, Heidrun Tempel, adviser on religious communities, federal chancellery, Berlin, 12 January 2006.

[220] Martin Lutz, “Schäuble startet Islam-Konferenz im September”, Die Welt, 24 May 2006.

[221] Crisis Group interview, Claudia Martini, adviser to commissioner for foreigners, migrants and refugees, 27 December 2005.

[222] Wolfgang Schäuble, “Regierungserklärung”, Deutsche Islam Konferenz, op. cit.

[223] “Kizilkaya will Idomeneo nicht sehen”, Stern, 29 September 2006.

[224] “Deutsche Islam Konferenz”, Bundesministerium des Innern, September 2006, Internet/Content/Nachrichten/Pressemitteilungen/2006/Einzeleiten/Islamkonferenz__Kurzinfo.html.

[225] Zafer Şenocak, Atlas of a Tropical Germany: Essays on Politics and Culture, 1990-1998, trans. and ed. by Leslie A. Adelson (Lincoln and London, 2000).

[226] Katharina Schuler, “Der Wohlfühl-Gipfel”, Die Zeit, 27 September 2006.

[227] Cem Özdemir, “Von den Latinos lernen”, Die Zeit, 4 September 2003; Mehmet Daimagüler, “Wir brauchen eine politische Vertretung der Muslime in Deutschland”, FAZ, 1 November 2001; Aiman Maziyek, “Innenpolitisch von den USA lernen”,, 25 April 2006.

[228] Crisis Group interview, Wael el Gayar, Islam analysis unit, interior ministry, Arab SPD-Berlin member, 5 January 2006.

[229] Crisis Group interview, Heidrun Tempel, adviser on religious communities, federal chancellery, Berlin, 12 January, 2006.

[230] Crisis Group telephone interview, Aiman Maziyek, FDP/ZMD, 11 January 2006.

[231] Sonia Phalnikar, “German elections: Turkish-German vote anything but certain,”, 24 September 2005.

[232] Ibid.

[233] Jochen Blaschke et al. (eds.), State Policies towards Muslim Minorities, op. cit., p.114; Ulrich Dehn, “Neue Daten zum Islam in Deutschland”, Evangelische Zentralstelle für Weltanschauungsfragen, October 2003.

[234] Crisis Group telephone interview, Aiman Maziyek, FDP/ZMD, 11 January 2006.

[235] Ibid.

[236] Crisis Group interview, Johannes Kandel, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Berlin, 12 January, 2006.

[237] Crisis Group interview, Veysal Özcan, European Parliament staffer (B90/Greens), Berlin, 11 January 2006.

[238] Lale Akgün (SPD, Cologne), a psychologist who worked for immigration offices; Ekin Deligöz (B90/Greens, Bavaria), since 1998; Omid Nouripour (B90/Greens, Hessen), who took former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer’s constituency; Hakkı Keskin (Linkspartei, Berlin), a high school teacher and immigrant activist who left the SPD in 2005; Sevim Dağdelen (Linkspartei, North Rhine-Westphalia), a journalist; and Hüseyin-Kenan Aydin (Linkspartei, North Rhine-Westphalia), a trade union leader.

[239] Özdemir; Ozan Ceyhun, who led an SPD national voter effort in 2002; Vural Öger (SPD), an entrepreneur who served on the government’s immigration commission in 2000; and Feleknas Uca (Linkspartei).

[240] Examples are Bülent Arslan, a leader of the CDU’s German-Turkish Forum; Ali Aslan (CDU), a spokesman for the interior ministry; Giyasettin Sayan, a spokeswoman for the Linkspartei; Emine Demirbüken-Wegner (CDU), a long-time foreigners’ commissioner in Berlin; and Mehmet Daimagüler, a former member of the FDP’s executive board.

[241] In Berlin: Bilkay Öney (Bündnis 90/Greens); Dilek Kolat (SPD); Canan Bayram (SPD); Evrim Helin Baba (Linkspartei); Giyas Sayan (Linkspartei); Lower Saxony: Filiz Polat (Bündnis 90/Greens); Hamburg: Nebahat Güclü (Bündnis 90/Greens).

[242] Zafer Senoçak and Feridun Zaimoğlu, for example.

[243] Necla Kelek, Navid Kermani, for example.

[244] Seyran Ateş, Kenan Kolat, for example.

[245] Birand Bingül is a familiar television anchor; actors and entertainers include Django Asül, Hilmi Tuncay Özer, Erdogan Atalay, Kaya Yanar and Muhabbet.

[246] “‘A question of emancipation’: Turkish-German comedians find plenty to joke about”,, 12 April 2006.

[247] “Wir haben keinen Kampf der Kulturen”, Zentralinstitut Islam-Archiv, cited in Daniel Sturm, Die Welt, 1 March 2006.

[248] Christian Bangel, “Integration: Mach Mit!”, Die Zeit, 6 July 2006.

[249] Quoted in Jann Rübel, “Sind die Muslime ein Stück Deutschland, Herr Schäuble?”, Welt am Sonntag, 28 May 2006.