In December of 2013, two new studies, one funded by the German government, found that the majority of Muslims believe that Islamic Sharia law should take precedence over the secular constitutions and laws of their European host countries.
What follows are some of the most important stories about the rise of Islam in Germany during 2013:
Gatestone Institute In January, the Turkish-run Kuba Camii Mosque in Eschweiler, a city situated along the German-Belgian-Dutch border and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Cologne, for the first time began publicly calling Muslims to prayer. The Turkish imam of the Kuba Camii Mosque, Bahri Ciftci, declared his hopes that “the public prayer call will be a symbol of a tolerant, intercultural and interreligious common coexistence.”
The mosque is one of a growing number of Islamic institutions in Germany publicly calling the Muslim faithful to prayer—five times a day, seven days a week—with cries of Allahu Akbar! The eardrum-shattering prayer calls can be heard from great distances when amplified through electric loudspeakers. Critics say some German towns and cities are beginning to evoke the sounds and images of the Islamic Middle East.
On January 14, the City-State of Bremen signed a so-called state treaty with city’s 40,000-strong Muslim community. The agreement guarantees the protection of Muslim community properties, the approval of the construction of mosques with minarets and domes, the allotment of land for Muslim cemeteries, the supplying of halal food at prisons and hospitals, the recognition of three Muslim holidays, Muslim representation in state institutions and several other rights and privileges. Critics say the agreements do little to encourage Muslim integration into German society and instead will boost the growing influence of Islam in the country by encouraging the perpetuation of a Muslim parallel society.
Also in January, a court in Berlin convicted two Islamists of being members of al-Qaeda and sentenced them to a combined 15 years in prison. At the time of their arrest, police uncovered a treasure trove of intelligence, including more than 100 al-Qaeda planning documents that described some of the terror group’s most audacious plots and a road map for future operations. Future plots include the seizing of cruise ships and carrying out other large-scale terrorist attacks in Europe.
Citing a classified government report, the daily Bild said on January 29 that more than 100 German Islamists are believed to have received paramilitary training at terrorist training camps abroad, and that half of that group had already returned to Germany. The classified report said the militants included many German converts to radical Islam who have received training from al-Qaeda on how to plan attacks as “autonomous cells” in Germany.
From Berlin to Dortmund to Mönchengladbach, the proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Germany. A German-born Islamic jihadist calling himself “Abu Azzam the German” threatened to attack Berlin and kill German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “We want to see Obama and Merkel dead!” he sings. “Our troops are already there [in Germany], what joy. You’ll bleed, your heads will roll! … Oh Allah, give the German people what they deserve!”
Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich that Berlin was guilty of “a human rights violation” for insisting that Turkish immigrants who want to live in Germany must integrate and learn the German language.
In March, Germany banned three Salafist Muslim groups the Interior Ministry said wanted to overturn democracy and install a system based on Islamic Sharia law.