Germany's Muslim population is set to skyrocket by more than 700,000 in 2015, pushing the total number of Muslims in the country to nearly 6 million for the first time.
The surge in Germany's Muslim population — propelled by a wave of migration unprecedented since the Second World War — represents a demographic shift of epic proportions, one that critics of the country's open-door immigration policy warn will change the face of Germany forever.
At a press conference on August 19, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière revealed that a record 800,000 migrants and refugees — the equivalent of nearly one percent of Germany's total population — are expected to arrive in Germany in 2015, a four-fold increase over 2014. He said that 83,000 migrants had arrived in July alone, and that the figure for August would be higher still.
De Maizière said that although many of the migrants are from the Middle East and North Africa, a large number (40%) are from countries in the Balkans, including Albania and Kosovo. This implies that nearly half of those arriving in Germany are economic migrants, not refugees fleeing war zones.
Of the 800,000 migrants and refugees arriving in Germany in 2015, at least 80% (or 640,000) are Muslim, according to a recent estimate by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, ZMD), a Muslim umbrella group based in Cologne. This estimate is not in dispute.
In addition to the newcomers, the natural rate of population increase of the Muslim community already living in Germany is approximately 1.6% per year (or 77,000), according to data extrapolated from a recent Pew Research Center study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe.
Based on Pew projections, the Muslim population of Germany reached an estimated 5,068,000 by the end of 2014. The 640,000 Muslim migrants arriving in Germany in 2015, combined with the 77,000 natural increase, indicates that the Muslim population of Germany will jump by 717,000, to reach an estimated 5,785,000 by the end of 2015. This would leave Germany with the highest Muslim population in Western Europe.
By way of comparison, the surge in Germany's Muslim population would be equivalent to the Muslim population of the United States increasing by 3 million in just one year.
Critics say that German officials, under pressure to solve Europe's migration crisis, are ignoring the long-term consequences of taking in so many migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.
In addition to security concerns (Islamic radicals are almost certainly trying to enter Germany disguised as refugees), they say, the surge in Muslim immigration will accelerate the Islamization of Germany, a process that is already well under way.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Germany. This is evidenced by the fact that an increasing number of churches in Germany are being converted into mosques, some of which are publicly sounding calls to prayer (the adhan) from outdoor loudspeaker systems. The increase is such that some neighborhoods in Germany evoke the sights and sounds of the Muslim Middle East.
Islamic Sharia law is advancing rapidly throughout Germany, with Sharia courts now operating in all of Germany's big cities. This "parallel justice system" is undermining the rule of law in Germany, experts warn, but government officials are "powerless" to do anything about it. At the same time, German judges are increasingly referring and deferring to Sharia law in German law courts.
Polygamy, although illegal under German law, is commonplace among Muslims in all major German cities. In Berlin, for example, it is estimated that fully one-third of the Muslim men living in the Neukölln district of the city have two or more wives.
According to an exposé broadcast by RTL, one of Germany's leading media companies, Muslim men residing in Germany routinely take advantage of the social welfare system by bringing two, three or four women from across the Muslim world to Germany, and then marrying them in the presence of an imam (Muslim religious leader). Once in Germany the women request social welfare benefits, including the cost of a separate home for themselves and for their children, on the claim of being a "single parent with children."
Although the welfare fraud committed by Muslim immigrants is an "open secret" costing German taxpayers millions of euros each year, government agencies are reluctant to take action due to political correctness, according to RTL.
Spiraling levels of violent crime perpetrated by shiftless immigrants from the Middle East and the Balkans have turned parts of German cities into "areas of lawlessness" — areas that are de facto "no-go" zones for police.
In Wuppertal, groups of bearded Muslim radicals calling themselves the "Sharia Police" have tried to enforce Islamic law on the streets by distributing yellow leaflets that explain the Islamist code of conduct in the city's Sharia zones. In Hamburg, Muslim radicals have infiltrated dozens of primary and secondary schools, where they are imposing Islamic norms and values on non-Muslim students and teachers.
In Berlin, local officials have waived rules prohibiting religious dress in public buildings so that Muslim women can wear headscarves. In Bavaria, Muslim children are being exempted from mandatory visits to former concentration camps as part of Holocaust education programs.
In Bremen, city officials signed an agreement with the 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 supply of halal food at prisons and hospitals, the recognition of three Muslim holidays, Muslim representation in state institutions and other rights and privileges.
More than 700 German Muslims have joined the Islamic State and traveled to Syria and Iraq, and some of them have continued to receive welfare benefits from the German state while on the battlefields of the Middle East. Jihadists who have returned to Germany and pose an acute threat to national security threat are nevertheless eligible to receive benefits once again.
Germany is home to more than 7,000 Salafists who adhere to a branch of radical Islam that is vehemently opposed to Germany's democratic order. German officials say that 1,000 of these individuals are especially dangerous (some are believed to have joined sleeper cells) and could attack at any time.
At the same time, however, Salafists are allowed to openly proselytize on German streets to find new recruits and thereby increase their numbers. In a recent recruitment initiative, Salafists launched an unprecedented nationwide campaign, "A Koran in Every Home," to distribute 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, to every household in Germany, free of charge.
And yet the guardians of German multiculturalism have been working overtime to silence critics of the rise of Islam in Germany. In Bavaria, for example, German activists opposed to the construction of a mega-mosque in Munich have been classified as "extremists" and are being monitored by German intelligence.
German media consistently accuse commentators on the rise of Islam of engaging in hate speech, in an underhanded effort to try to intimidate them into silence. A particular object of wrath is a very popular German-language website called Politically Incorrect (PI), which over the years has grown into a major information resource for people concerned about the spread of Islam in Germany. PI's motto reads "Against the Mainstream, Pro-American, Pro-Israel, Against the Islamization of Europe." Not surprisingly, German media elites want PI shut down.
It is quite possible that German Chancellor Angela Merkel — who recently admitted that German multiculturalism has failed — views mass immigration from the Muslim world as the solution to Germany's collapsing birth rate, which is among the lowest in the world.
The German government expects the population to shrink from roughly 81 million today to 67 million in 2060, although Germany's statistics office, Destatis, recently reported that high levels of immigration would cause the country's population to shrink more slowly than previously expected.
A study by the Hamburg-based World Economy Institute has warned that the low birthrate threatens the long-term viability of the German economy. "No other industrial country is deteriorating at this speed despite the strong influx of young migrant workers," the report said. "Germany cannot continue to be a dynamic business hub in the long-run without a strong jobs market."
Germany will need to do a far better job of integrating immigrants if they are to be a net gain for the German economy. A recent study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research showed that Muslim immigrants were more likely to be unemployed and living off the social welfare state than any other migrant group in Germany. The report said that root cause for the high unemployment rates is the lack of educational attainment and job training qualifications.
Meanwhile, the migration crisis shows no sign of abating. At a summit on migration held in Vienna on August 27, the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said: "There are 20 million refugees waiting at the doorstep of Europe. Ten to 12 million in Syria, 5 million Palestinians, 2 million Ukrainians and about 1 million in the southern Caucasus."
On August 21, Germany suspended the so-called Dublin Regulation — a law that requires people seeking refuge within the EU to do so in the first European country they reach — for asylum seekers from Syria. This means that Syrians reaching Germany will be allowed to stay while their applications are being processed. Critics say the move will encourage even more migrants to make their way to Germany.
Most Germans seem to be unfazed by what is happening to their country. An August 21 poll for German broadcaster ZDF showed that 60% of Germans thought their country could cope with the high number of refugees, and 86% said that Germany was a country of immigration.
In an interview with the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, Aiman Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, said that so many Muslims have been flowing into the country that attendance at many mosques has doubled in the past month alone. Commenting on the demographic revolution sweeping Germany, Mazyek summed it up with an understatement: "The number of Muslims in Germany will increase significantly."
In nearby Hungary, President Viktor Orbán has been one of the few European heads of state to sound the alarm. "A year ago I said that we live in times when anything can happen, and I still say so today," he said recently. "Who would have thought that Europe would not be capable of protecting its own borders against unarmed refugees?" He added:
"For us today, what is at stake is Europe, the lifestyle of European citizens, European values, the survival or disappearance of European nations, and more precisely formulated, their transformation beyond recognition. Today, the question is not merely in what kind of a Europe we would like to live, but whether everything we understand as Europe will exist at all."
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.