Expectations and pressure from German authorities and society are increasingly forcing Muslims in Germany to coordinate and create representative organizations, reports the Muslim newspaper Islamische Zeitung (November). This follows the pattern observed in several other European countries, though Islam in Germany is unique in several ways. According to some estimates, there may be up to 3.4 million Muslims in Germany, and . 84 percent of them express the intent of staying in Germany permanently. The period of temporary immigration is over; 600,000 already have German passports. Three-quarters of Muslims in Germany are of Turkish descent.
Nobody knows for sure the number of German converts; there are at least 60,000 of them. Muslims in Germany have some 2,000 prayer places. There are more than 159 mosques with all external features and more than 140 are in the planning. Up to now, Muslims have remained primarily organized along ethnic lines, but increasingly young people are feeling uncomfortable with such a situation. There are four main organizations that are increasingly becoming recognized partners of German federal authorities.
In order to present a somewhat unitary face, these four organizations have established a coordination council of German Muslims in April 2007, with its presidency rotating every six months. Its existence is presented as a major step forward in the face of growing challenges for Muslims. However, critical voices wonder how far such organizations can claim to speak for all Muslims in the country. Some also regret the lack of women in the leadership of “representative” structures.
— By Jean-Francois Mayer
(Islamische Zeitung, Beilsteiner Str. 121, 12681 Berlin, German;http://www.islamische-zeitung.de)