Shia Muslims enjoy significant freedom of action in Germany; lesson for France
“There are nearly 5 million Muslims in Germany, half a million of whom are Shia,” remarked a female German Shia activist.
Germany is a country with an area of 357 thousand square kilometers located in Western Europe. The country has a population of nearly 81 million people. It is bordered by Denmark, Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg as well as the Netherlands. 67% of the population of the country is comprised of Christians and Muslims make up 5% of the German population.
But Muslims are the third largest religious group in Germany, after Protestants and Catholics. The Muslim population in Germany has the fastest growing population among the different faiths, with about 40 percent of Muslims in Germany currently under the age of 18. There are dozens of Shia centers in Germany that have been established and running over the past three decades.
Additionally, there are also many Shia figures who live throughout the country, especially in the city of Berlin. Berlin is where the vast majority of Shia Muslims live. The Islamic Center of Hamburg, the Islamic Center of Munich, the Islamic Center of Mustafa (PBUH), the Islamic Center of Afghanistan in Hamburg, the Ahlal-Bayt (A.S) Center in the city of Disburg and many other centers are Shia institutions in Germany that have various levels of activity.
What was said above makes it clear that respect for Muslims is not really unheard of in Europe, yet in a country like France the most prominent figure in the history of Islam is graphically ridiculed with impunity, and the president of the country defends such blasphemy instead of decrying it.
What follows is a short conversation with Maryam Dilki, a German female Shia activist, regarding the status of the country’s Shia Muslims.
“Abna: Would you please introduce yourself first?
I am Maryam Dilki. I am 55 years old and I come from Germany. I would introduce myself as a German woman who converted to Islam 10 years ago and is now retired.
Abna: Can you explain us what religious activities you have?
I used to work at a weekend school for Muslim children. But I moved to another city, therefore I could not continue.
Abna: What information do you have about German Shia Muslims?
There are about 5 million Muslims in Germany, half a million of whom are Shia. Shia Muslims have a lot of freedom of action in Germany. Of course, the number of indigenous Shia Muslims in Germany is small, and most of the country’s Shia Muslims are immigrants from other countries. I was converted to Islam through a Shia group that is active in Germany.
Abna: Would you consider that Wahhabism is active in Germany?
Yes, the Wahhabis are in Germany and they are very active in this country and unfortunately they were somewhat successful.
Abna: What is the position of the family institution in Germany?
Family does not have a good position. People in Germany, including women, have to work long hours. That is why German women do not like to have children. Even if they do have children, they send their children to kindergarten from a very young age.”