Saturday, September 28, 2002 1:41 AM
The Number of Muslims is Rising Steadily in Germany More Practicing Muslims than Evangelicals in “Luther’s Country”
Soest, September 27 (idea) – The number of Muslims in Germany is rising steadily due to immigration and a higher birth rate. There are 3.45 million Muslims in “Luther’s country” today, compared to 3.24 million one year ago. Most of them are Turkish immigrants; only 12.000 Muslims are of German descent.
According to figures published by the Central Islam Institute in Soest nearly 74 per cent (2.55 million) take their religion seriously. This exceeds the estimated number of 1.5 million evangelicals.
The number of Muslims who regularly attend prayer meetings on Friday has dropped slightly to 285,000. This amounts to 8.3 per cent of all Muslims. The figure is nearly twice as high as the average church attendance of the 26.6 million nominal Protestant church members: 4.2 per cent. 16 per cent of the 26.8 million Catholics go to mass regularly.
According to the institute there are 77 mosques in Germany, seven more than last year. 123 mosques are being built or in the planning stages. Most Muslims gather in the 2,300 prayer houses and cultural centers.
Seven per cent of the 850,000 Muslim children and adolescents attend Koran schools. Nearly all Muslim parents – 97 per cent – welcome Islamic religious instruction in state schools.
According to the statistics more and more Muslims welcome the religious dialog. 80 per cent regard an exchange of ideas with Christians as very important. This figure has risen by seven per cent since last year. It is believed that the public debate after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington has contributed to the increased interest.