Islam in Germany: Two Different Views

Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

Deutsche Welle ran two stories on Islam and Muslims in Germany within five days of each other, but the stories had different takes on Islam in Germany.

From the academics viewpoint, the first story praised the success of Islamic theology courses in German universities. The courses only began three years ago but according to the article, are already having an impact on the German religious landscape. The addition of Islamic studies and theology was “the logical conclusion of a productive examination of the field of academic theology in Germany,” said Reinhard Schulze, who teaches Islam at the University of Berne in Switzerland.

Read the full story here: “Islamic Success Story at German Universities”

The second story has a social angle looking at the distrust of Islam among Germans. It seems fear and distrust of Islam has “come to light and is widespread.” A survey conducted by the University of Bielefeld “showed that the fear of Islam is relatively widespread in Germany. Only 19 percent of Germans believe that Islam is compatible with German culture.” The survey also showed that “46 percent of all Germans are afraid of the infiltration by foreigners, and around 30 percent had specific fears, for example, terrorist attacks.”

Read the full story here: “Why Germans Distrust Islam”

The article concludes with the admission that German society might have something to do with this mistrust: “It would be typically German, in order to behave properly, to have the tendency not to address problems directly. This leads to a tendency to sweep some things under the carpet.” Knowing about this fear and mistrust and seeking opportunities for information and education (such as seen in the growth of Islamic studies in universities) could create a more open and trusting environment.

These stories together reveal the need for Christians to reach Muslims in Europe, and a first step to starting a genuine friendship is to tear down the walls of fear and educate one’s self about Islam and Muslims.

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