GermanyÂ has discovered it has more Muslims than suspected, with a government survey concluding on Tuesday that about 5 per cent of the entire population was Islamic.
Update: Germany caves in to Islamic demands:
The poll was funded by the InteriorMinistryfor a series of conferences between officials and Muslim groups, after complaints that there was no reliable information on the Islamic population or their views.
The survey report, released in Berlin by the InteriorMinistry, calculated that about 4 million people in the country were Muslim, well up from the past estimates of 3.1 to 3.4 million based on immigration data. Germany’s overall population is around 80 million.
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Pollsters phoned 6,000 households with 17,000 residents. To understand how observant they were, families were asked if they ate pork or drank alcohol. Among Sunni Muslims, 91 per cent said they followed Islamic food and drink practices.
The rate among Shiites was 60 per cent and among Alawites 49 per cent.
Berlin opened the talks in 2006 with a range of Muslim and secular Turkish groups amid concerns about home-grown terrorism, but officials soon found at the meetings that Muslims had concerns of their own, especially about German public schools.
* Â The usual grievance theater:
Muslim parents are annoyed that Christian children receive doctrine classes at schools during school hours, whereasÂ religionÂ teachers for the Muslim children are rare. Of those polled, 75 per cent said all Muslim pupils should be offered Islam classes.
Some parents also object to daughters being compelled to don bathing gear for school swimming classes or sleep in dormitories with boys present.
The survey found 7 per cent of Muslim girls skipped swim class and 10 per cent did not take part in overnight class excursions, often with a polite excuse, because schools refuse to provide single-sex arrangements.
In a summary, the ministry said access for Muslims to well paid jobs remained a problem, with many Muslim young people, especially Turkish youths, leaving school without qualifications, but social integration was better than most Germans believed.
More than half of Muslims were members of German-run organizations such as sports clubs or parents’ associations.
The survey also suggested that Muslims may have some weight in German elections, since 45 per cent of the minority are German nationals, either by birth or by naturalization. The rest have kept the nationality of their country of origin.