First Imam for German Army

SHAFAQNA – In a positive reaction to the growing number of German Muslim soldiers, the German army has decided to recruit its first imam to cater for the need of these soldiers, local media reported on Saturday.

“Islam has become the third largest religion in Germany and we are trying to figure out whether it would be possible for our Muslim soldiers to have their own chaplain,” a Bundeswehr spokesman told the Bild newspaper, as reported by the Turkish Daily Sabah.

Earlier this month, the army decided to open a new branch for its religious services center in the western city of Koblenz, the daily reported. Since the 1960s the Catholic and Protestant churches have provided religious instruction for the German army, which currently has around 1,600 Muslim soldiers.

Germany, believed to be home to nearly 4 million Muslims, including 220,000 in Berlin alone, has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

Turks make up an estimated two thirds of the Muslim minority.

A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbours.

So this initiative from the military can be seen as a right step towards addressing many problems facing German Muslims.

A study produced in 2014, on Germans perceptions of immigrants to the European country, showed a widespread view held by many that German Muslims are not patriot, blowing away decades of integration of the four-million Muslim community.

The study “Germany post-immigration” was issued by the Berlin Institute for Empirical Integration and Migration Research (BIM).

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