Germany's Muslim population skyrocketed by more than 850,000 in 2015, for the first time pushing the total number of Muslims in the country to nearly six million.
Of the one million migrants and refugees who arrived in Germany in 2015, at least 80% (or 800,000) were believed to be Muslim, according to estimates by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, ZMD), a Muslim umbrella group based in Cologne.
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 800,000 Muslim migrants arriving in Germany in 2015, combined with the 77,000 natural increase, would indicate that the Muslim population of Germany jumped by 877,000, to reach an estimated 5,945,000 by the end of 2015. This would leave Germany vying with France for the highest Muslim population in Western Europe.
Muslim mass migration is fast-tracking the rise of Islam in Germany. It is also responsible for a host of social disruptions, including a rape epidemic, a public health crisis, and a rush by German citizens to purchase weapons for self-defense. What follows is a chronological round-up of some of the key stories in 2015.
January 8. A survey published by the Bertelsmann Foundation found that because of the growing Muslim population: 57% of Germans believe that Islam is threatening to German society; 61% believe that Islam does not fit into Western society; 40%, feel like "foreigners in their own country."
January 9. The newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, reported that Germany's Federal Criminal Police Agency (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) enacted a nationwide emergency plan to prevent Islamic terrorists from striking in Germany. Federal and state security agencies were ordered to locate the whereabouts of up to 250 German Islamists and other "relevant persons." The magazine also reported that the BKA had evidence "that key European cities could be attacked at any time."
January 11. The offices of the Hamburger Morgenpost were firebombed, after the newspaper, in solidarity with the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, republished its cartoons on the cover, in defense of free speech.
January 11. In an interview with Bild am Sonntag, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière confirmed that German intelligence was monitoring "around 260 individuals" who could potentially strike at any moment. He said:
"We have about 260 dangerous individuals (Gefährder). We also have around 550 people who have travelled to the battle zones in Syria and Iraq. Between 150 and 180 of these have returned to Germany; 30 of them are battle-hardened fundamentalists. They pose a serious threat to our security. I am very concerned about well-prepared perpetrators such as those in Paris, Brussels, Australia and Canada. This situation is serious."
According to Bild, at least 60 police officers are needed successfully to monitor just one German jihadist around the clock. The newspaper questioned whether Germany has enough security personnel to track all the potential terrorists. De Maizière conceded: "So far we have been lucky. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case."
January 12. More than 25,000 people showed up in the city of Dresden for a weekly gathering of a burgeoning grassroots movement known as PEGIDA — short for "Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West." In what was the largest turnout yet, marchers wore black armbands and observed a minute of silence for "the victims of terrorism in Paris."
On its Facebook page, PEGIDA wrote that the attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris confirmed its worst fears. It said:
"The Islamists PEGIDA has been warning about for 12 weeks showed France that they are incapable of democracy and rather look to violence and death as an answer! Our politicians want us to believe the opposite. Must such a tragedy happen here in Germany first???"
January 12. Chancellor Angela Merkel repudiated the PEGIDA movement by saying that Islam "belongs to Germany."
January 12. A 20-year-old Eritrean refugee and asylum seeker, Khaled Idris Bahray, a Muslim, was stabbed to death in Dresden. European media were quick to blame PEGIDA for inciting the murder. The London-based Guardian reported that the killing "exposes racial tensions" and "anti-immigration sentiment" in Germany. On January 22, however, German prosecutors said that Bahray's 26-year old Eritrean roommate had confessed to the stabbing.
January 14. The German cabinet approved a plan to confiscate the national ID cards of known Islamists, making it harder for them to leave the country to fight for ISIS.
January 15. Police in Lower Saxony arrested a 26-year-old German-Lebanese jihadist, identified as Ayub B., and charged him with participating in the jihad in Syria. Also on January 15, police in Pforzheim raided the apartments of two Balkan Salafists.
January 16. More than 250 police searched 11 premises in Berlin. They arrested five Turkish Islamists, including a 41-year-old Turk identified as Ismet D., who refers to himself as the "Emir of Berlin."
January 20. More than 200 police raided 13 properties linked to Islamists in Berlin and the eastern states of Brandenburg and Thuringia.
January 21. The founder and leader of PEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann, abruptly stepped down after German media published a photograph of him with an Adolf Hitler-style haircut and moustache. In Facebook posts, he also referred to asylum seekers as "trash" and "filth." PEGIDA's detractors said the photo, taken at least two years before the group's rise to prominence, proves the movement was motivated by racism. Bachmann insisted that the photograph was an act of satire.
January 21. The Roman Catholic diocese of Münster banned Paul Spätling, a Roman Catholic priest, from preaching after he spoke at a PEGIDA rally in Duisburg. He told a group of 500 listeners: "Europe has been at war with Islam for 1,400 years. It is unbelievable that Chancellor Angela Merkel said 'Islam belongs to Germany.'" Stephan Kronenburg, a spokesman for the diocese, said: "With his statements he stirs up hostility against Islam; we consider this dangerous."
January 25. The prime minister of the eastern German state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, disagreed with Merkel's statement that "Islam belongs to Germany." He said: "Muslims are welcome in Germany and can practice their religion. But this does not mean that Islam is part of Saxony." The capital city of Saxony is Dresden, headquarters of the PEGIDA movement.
January 29. The carnival committee in Cologne dropped plans to build a Charlie Hebdo-themed float. The cancellation was prompted by fears that it might pose a security threat. The float was to be featured in the February 16 parade as an expression of support for France and Charlie Hebdo. The design, chosen by the public in an online poll, showed a cartoonist forcing a pencil into the barrel of a terrorist's gun.
Also in January, the German supermarket chain, Aldi, removed a brand of liquid soap from store shelves after complaints that its packaging was offensive to Muslims. Aldi said the packaging of the Ombia 1001 Nights liquid soap, which depicts a mosque with dome and minarets, together with a lantern and a set of prayer beads, was intended to evoke a scene from the Middle East.
Muslim customers had posted complaints on Aldi's Facebook page. "When I saw your liquid soap by Ombia on your shelves, I was a little shocked as it showed a mosque," one customer wrote. "The mosque with its dome and minarets is a symbol that stands for dignity and respect for Muslims. That is why I do not find it appropriate to depict this meaningful image on an item of daily use."
February 8. The newspaper, Die Welt revealed that German public prosecutors were investigating 83 German jihadists for war crimes, based on atrocities committed in the name of the Islamic State.
February 12. The Hamburger Morgenpost reported that senior politicians representing the State of Saxony and the City of Dresden secretly used more than €100,000 ($115,000) in taxpayer money to pay for a PEGIDA counter-demonstration held in Dresden on January 10. The purpose of this demonstration, for which more than 35,000 people showed up, was to portray PEGIDA supporters as "intolerant" and "bigoted," in contrast to the majority of Dresdeners, who are considered "cosmopolitan" and "committed to tolerance."
February 15. The city of Braunschweig cancelled a planned carnival parade because of the "specific threat of an Islamist attack."
February 26. The President of the Central Council of Jews, Josef Schuster, warned Jewish men not to wear skullcaps while in the Muslim districts of Berlin. "This is a development I would not have expected five years ago," he said. "It is certainly frightening."
March 7. Sheik Abu Bilal Ismail, a Danish imam who called for the death of Jews during a sermon at Berlin's Al-Nur mosque, was found guilty of hate speech and ordered to pay a fine of €9,600 ($10,300). "O Allah," Ismail had said, "destroy the Zionist Jews. They are no challenge for you. Count them and kill them to the very last one. Do not spare a single one of them. Oh Lord, bring torment upon them." He later said his words had been taken out of context.
March 12. A court in Berlin fined the father and two uncles of Nasser El-Ahmad, an 18-year-old Lebanese Muslim, for attempting to force him into marriage with a woman despite his being openly homosexual. El-Ahmad said his father had threatened to slit his throat and his uncle doused him with gasoline because they refused to accept this fact. Observers said the case showed that males can be victims of forced marriage, as well.
March 14. Hooligans, Salafists, PEGIDA and far-left counter-demonstrators all descended on the city of Wuppertal. It was the first time the groups all held simultaneous events. More than 1,000 police were deployed to maintain calm.
March 26. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière banned the Salafist group Tauhid, which he said was recruiting jihadists to fight in Syria and Iraq.
April 8. Federal Police Chief Dieter Romann revealed that in 2014, more than 57,000 people had tried to enter the country illegally, a 75% jump in comparison to 2013. In addition, police arrested 27,000 people who had managed to enter the country and were living there illegally, a 40% jump from the year before. Most of the illegal immigrants were from Syria, Eritrea, Serbia, Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.
April 13. Dutch politician Geert Wilders addressed a rally of the German grassroots anti-Islamization movement known as PEGIDA in the eastern city of Dresden. Wilders said: "There is nothing wrong with being proud German patriots. There is nothing wrong with wanting Germany to remain free and democratic. There is nothing wrong with preserving our own Judeo-Christian civilization. That is our duty."
April 22. The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think tank in Berlin, announced the launch of the "Muslimisches Forum Deutschland." The new forum aims to promote the voices of liberal Muslims in order to counter-balance the influence of extremist Muslim groups in Germany.
Also in April, the German rapper-turned-jihadist Dennis Cuspert appeared in an ISIS propaganda video rapping the following lyrics:
"To the enemies of Allah. Where are your troops? We can no longer wait. O Allah, destroy them! Grant us victory over them. Take from us. Make us honorable. Take from our blood. Fisabilillah [One who fights for the cause of Allah]...
"We want your blood. It tastes so wonderful...In Germany, sleeper cells lie in wait. The brothers are coming. Terrorize the Kafir [nonbeliever]."
May 1. Police in Oberursel, a suburb of Frankfurt, cancelled a professional bicycle race with more than 5,000 participants, on fears that Islamic terrorists were planning to attack the event.
May 20. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière addressed a conference in Berlin called "Jewish Life in Germany: Is it at Risk?" He said that in 2014, anti-Semitic hate crimes were up by 25% and that much of the increase was due to attacks perpetrated by Muslim immigrants.
May 23. The German Army announced that it would recruit its first imam for the 1,600 Muslims in uniform.
June 3. More than 90 police officers were deployed to break up a fight between 70 members of rival immigrant clans at a public playground in Moabit, an inner city neighborhood of Berlin. The fight began when two women got into an argument over a man, and turned violent after more and more family members participated. Two police officers were seriously hurt.
June 5. A 30-year-old Somali asylum seeker called "Ali S" was sentenced to four years and nine months in a Munich prison for attempting to rape a 20-year-old woman. Ali had previously served a seven-year term for rape, and had been out of prison for only five months before he attacked again. In an effort to protect the identity of Ali S, a Munich newspaper referred to him as "Joseph T." — a name deemed more politically correct.
June 8. More than 50 police officers were deployed to break up a fight resulting from an argument at a wedding reception for Bosnian immigrants in Berlin. Within moments, more than a dozen other had people joined in. But as soon as the police arrived, the rival clans stopped fighting each other and began attacking them. One of the wedding guests hit a police officer over the head with a chair; critically wounding him. Other officers had bottles thrown at them, were spat on or verbally attacked.
June 10. A 26-year-old Muslim woman, Betül Ulusoy, was allowed to begin an internship as a junior lawyer in the town hall in Berlin. Local authorities had initially considered rejecting her application because she insisted on wearing a Muslim head-covering. Berlin's neutrality law (Neutralitätsgesetz) stipulates that anyone who works for the city is prohibited from showing outward signs of religiosity. But city officials, apparently in order to avoid being accused of Islamophobia, made an exception for Ulusoy.
June 24. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said that the number of German jihadists fighting in Syria had risen to around 700. "The number has never been as high as it is now," he said. The number of violent Islamists in Germany who are "prepared to commit politically motivated crimes of considerable importance" was around 330. He said there were more than 500 ongoing counter-terrorism efforts involving 800 Islamists.
June 26. The administrators of the Wilhelm-Diess-Gymnasium, a school in the Bavarian town of Pocking, warned parents not to let their daughters wear revealing clothing, in order to avoid "misunderstandings" with 200 Muslim refugees housed in emergency accommodations that happened to be in a nearby building. Their letter said:
"The Syrian citizens are mainly Muslim and speak Arabic. The refugees have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be worn in order to avoid disagreements. Revealing tops or blouses, short shorts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings."
June 29. A mob of Lebanese immigrants attacked two police officers attempting to arrest two men for smoking cannabis on a public sidewalk in Duisburg. Within minutes, the officers were surrounded by more than 100 men who tried to prevent the arrests. Ten squad cars and dozens of police reinforcements were required to rescue the policemen.
Also in June, a debate erupted over whether Muslim students should be exempted from mandatory visits to former concentration camps as part of Holocaust education programs. The dispute centered on a proposal that would require students in all secondary schools in Bavaria to visit Holocaust memorials as part of the school curriculum. The proposal was opposed by the governing Christian Social Union, which said that "many children from Muslim families... have no connection to our past and... will need much more time before they can identify with our history. We need to be careful about how we address this issue with these children."
July 17. For the first time ever in Germany, public television and radio channel Bayerischer Rundfunk aired Muslim prayers marking the beginning of the Eid el-Fitr holiday and the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
July 20. Germany's first Sharia-compliant bank, the Turkish-owned Kuveyt Turk Bank, opened for business in Frankfurt. The bank's director, Kemal Ozan, said: "Our market research has shown that 21% of Muslims in this country would see an Islamic bank as their natural household bank."
July 24. Two police officers in Gelsenkirchen, a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, were attacked by a mob of Lebanese immigrants after they tried to pull over a driver who ran a stoplight. The driver got out of the car and attempted to flee on foot. When police caught up with him, more than 50 people appeared from virtually nowhere to prevent the suspect's arrest. A 15-year-old attacked a policeman from behind and began strangling him, rendering him unconscious. Massive amounts of police reinforcements and pepper spray were needed to control the situation.
July 25. A confidential police document leaked to the Rheinischen Post revealed that in 2014, a record-breaking 38,000 asylum seekers in Germany were accused of committing crimes in the country. Analysts believe this figure — which works out to more than 100 crimes a day — is only a fragment: many crimes are not made public.
July 25. The newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported that spiraling levels of violent crime by immigrants from the Balkans and the Middle East have turned parts of Duisburg, a key German industrial city, into "areas of lawlessness." Such areas, according to a police report that was leaked, have effectively become "no-go" zones for police.
July 25. In an interview with the newsmagazine, Focus, the head of the police union in North Rhine-Westphalia, Arnold Plickert, warned of the emergence of no-go zones in the cities of Dortmund, Duisburg, Essen and Cologne. "Several rival rocker groups as well as Lebanese, Turkish, Romanian and Bulgarian clans are fighting for supremacy of the streets," he said. "They make their own rules; here the police have no say in it."
August 3. A confidential document leaked to the newspaper Bild, revealed that the Hamburg transit authority (Hamburger Verkehrsverbund, HVV) ordered ticket inspectors to "look the other way" whenever they encounter migrants who are using public transportation without a ticket. The move ostensibly aims to protect the HVV against "bad press."
August 6. Police revealed that a 13-year-old Muslim girl was raped by another asylum seeker at a refugee facility in Detmold. The girl and her mother reportedly fled their homeland to escape a culture of sexual violence; as it turns out, the man who raped the girl is from the country they had fled.
August 18. A coalition of four social work organizations and women's rights groups sent a letter to the leaders of the political parties in the regional parliament in Hesse, warning them of the worsening situation for women and children in the refugee shelters. The letter said:
"The practice of providing accommodations in large tents, the lack of gender-separate sanitary facilities, premises that cannot be locked, the lack of safe havens for women and girls — to name just a few spatial factors — increases the vulnerability of women and children within the shelters. This situation plays into the hands of those men who assign women a subordinate role and treat women traveling alone as 'wild game.'
"The consequences are countless rapes and sexual assaults. We are also receiving an increasing number of reports of forced prostitution. It must be stressed: these are not isolated cases.
"Women report that they, as well as children, have been raped or subjected to sexual assault. As a result, many women sleep in their street clothes. Women regularly report that they do not use the toilet at night because of the danger of rape and robbery on the way to the sanitary facilities. Even during daylight, passing through the camp is a frightful situation for many women."
August 19. At least 20 Syrian migrants staying at an overcrowded refugee shelter in the eastern German town of Suhl tried to lynch an Afghan migrant after he tore pages from a Koran and threw them in a toilet. More than 100 police officers were called in to restore order, but when they arrived, were attacked with stones and concrete blocks. Seventeen people were injured in the melee, including 11 refugees and 6 police officers. The president of the German state of Thuringia, Bodo Ramelow, said that Muslims of different nationalities should be housed separately to avoid similar violence in the future.
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 said the move would encourage even more migrants to make their way to Germany.
August 27. Aiman Mazyek, director of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland, ZMD), a Muslim umbrella group based in Cologne, estimated that at least 80% of the migrants and refugees arriving in Germany in 2015 are Muslim.
August 30. German sociologist Hans Georg Soeffner warned that Germany was importing religious conflict:
"Immigration brings religious conflicts with it — like the ones between different Muslims. We must assume that the conflicts will grow. The refugees bring political and religious conflicts from their countries of origin to Germany — like the conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites, or liberal Muslims and Salafists. We are already familiar with the conflicts between Turks, Kurds, Alevites and the rest of Muslims, so we've seen these conflicts. But in view of the expected number of new immigrants, the conflicts will grow. And that is why we quickly have to begin promoting German values, meaning the constitution. Only then will the immigrants know what the rules here are."
Also in August, the number of asylum seekers entering the country in a single month surpassed the 100,000 mark for the first time ever. A record 104,460 asylum seekers arrived in August 2015, bringing the cumulative total for the first eight months of 2015 to 413,535.
September 3. In an interview with Die Zeit, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said the integration of Muslim migrants from the Arab world would be more difficult than the integration of Turkish Muslims; at least 20% of migrants arriving in the country this year were illiterate.
September 7. Aiman Mazyek, director of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, said that Muslim mass migration would significantly alter the nature of Islam in Germany. Until now, German Islam has been predominately Turkish in nature; in the future, it will become far more Arab.
September 8. The Frankfurter Allgemeine reported that Saudi Arabia was preparing to finance the construction of 200 new mosques in Germany to accommodate asylum seekers.
September 17. In an interview with the Rheinische Post, Hans-Georg Maassen, the director of the Germany's domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), said that German Salafists were posing as aid workers and were offering gifts of money and clothing in efforts to recruit asylum seekers. Others were offering translation services and inviting migrants to their homes for tea. Still others were handing out leaflets with information about local Salafist mosques. Maassen said:
"Many of the asylum seekers have a Sunni religious background. In Germany there is a Salafist scene that sees this as a breeding ground. We are observing that Salafists are appearing at the shelters disguised as volunteers and helpers, deliberately seeking contact with refugees to invite them to their mosques to recruit them to their cause."
September 19. In Bielefeld, Salafists were infiltrating refugee centers by bringing toys, fruits and vegetables for the migrants.
September 23. Municipal officials in Hamburg introduced an audacious bill in the local parliament that would allow the city to seize vacant commercial real estate (office buildings and land) and use it to house migrants.
September 25. Asadullah and Shazia Khan, migrants from Pakistan living in Darmstadt, went on trial for the "honor killing" of Lareeb, their 19-year-old daughter. Asadullah confessed to strangling his daughter with his bare hands because he did not approve of her boyfriend.
September 28. More than 70 asylum seekers in Hamburg began a hunger strike to pressure local authorities to provide them with better housing. "We are on a hunger strike," said Syrian refugee Awad Arbaakeat. "The city lied to us. We were shocked when we arrived here." The migrants said they were angry they were being asked to sleep in a huge warehouse rather than in private apartments. Hamburg officials say there are no more vacant apartments in the city, the second-largest in Germany.
Also in September, it emerged that hundreds of Muslim refugees are converting to Christianity, apparently in an effort to improve their chances of having their asylum applications approved. Under Islam, Muslims who convert to Christianity are guilty of apostasy, a crime punishable by death. The "converts" apparently believe that German immigration officials will allow them to stay in Germany if they can be persuaded that they will be killed if they are sent back to their countries of origin.
October 1. In Bad Kreuznach, a family of asylum seekers from Syria made an appointment to view a four-room rental property but refused to see the house because the real estate agent was female. According to real estate agent Aline Kern:
"One of the men, who spoke broken German, said they were not interested in viewing the property because I am a woman, I am blonde, and because I looked the men into their eyes. This was inappropriate. My company should send a man to show the property. I was taken aback. You want to help and then are sent away, unwanted in your own country."
October 2. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio, Tania Kambouri, a German police officer and the author of a bestselling new book about the failure of German multiculturalism, described the deteriorating security situation in Germany due to migrants who have no respect for law and order. She said:
"For weeks, months and years I have noticed that Muslims, mostly young men, do not have even a minimum level of respect for the police. When we are out patrolling the streets, we are verbally abused by young Muslims. There is the body language, and insults like 'sh** cop' when passing by. If we make a traffic stop, the aggression increases ever further, this is overwhelmingly the case with migrants.
"I wish these problems were recognized and clearly addressed. If necessary, laws need to be strengthened. It is also very important that the judiciary, that the judges issue effective rulings. It cannot be that offenders continue to fill the police files, hurt us physically, insult us, whatever, and there are no consequences. Many cases are closed or offenders are released on probation or whatever. What is happening in the courts today is a joke.
"The growing disrespect, the increasing violence against police... We are losing control of the streets."
October 5. The public television station ARD denied broadcasting "anti-Islamic propaganda" after it aired a photomontage of Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing an Islamic head dress. The image was shown in the background of a segment on refugee quotas in the "Report from Berlin" program, while moderator Rainald Becker said:
"Can we really do this? Or are we overwhelmed? If we succeed [in managing the migrant crisis], what will happen to our values? How will life change? How will we react if refugees have problems — with equality, with women's rights, with press freedom and freedom of expression?"
ARD later said: "We regret that some viewers disagreed with, or even misunderstood, how our chancellor was portrayed."
October 14. In Osnabrück, an asylum seeker from Somalia successfully sued the German Agency for Migration and Refugees (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF) for taking too long to process his application. A judge ordered the BAMF to make a decision on his application within three months or provide him with financial compensation.
October 14. Sumte, a tiny village with 100 inhabitants in Lower Saxony, was required by the federal government to host 1,000 asylum seekers.
October 15. City officials in Hamburg revealed that 35,021 migrants arrived in the city during the first nine months of 2015. During this same period, Hamburg police were dispatched to the city's refugee shelters more than 1,000 times — including 81 times to break up mass brawls, 93 times to investigate physical and sexual assaults, and 28 times to prevent migrants from killing themselves.
October 14. The president of the Bavarian Association of Municipalities (Bayerische Gemeindetag), Uwe Brandl, warned that Germany is now on track to have "20 million Muslims by 2020," out of a population in 2014 of 81.1 million. He arrived at this figure after factoring in family reunifications — based on the assumption that individuals whose asylum applications are approved will subsequently bring to Germany an average of four additional members of their families.
October 20. Eight Islamists went on trial in Cologne. They were accused of stealing €19,000 ($20,500) from collection boxes in churches and schools in Siegen, then sending the money to ISIS.
October 21. More than 200 mayors in North-Rhine Westphalia signed an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel; they warned they were no longer capable of taking in more migrants.
October 25. The contents of a leaked government document published by Die Welt revealed growing alarm within the highest echelons of Germany's intelligence and security apparatus about the consequences of Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door immigration policy.
The document warned that the "integration of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants will be impossible given the large numbers involved and the already-existing Muslim parallel societies in Germany." The document added:
"We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law. German security agencies are unable to deal with these imported security problems, and the resulting reactions from the German population."
Also in October, the Evangelical Christian Church in the Rhineland was criticized by other Christians when it advised against attempting to evangelize Muslims migrants. In a position paper, the church argued that the passage in the 28th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew known as the Great Commission — "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" — does not mean Christians should try to convert others. The paper argued: "A strategic mission to Islam or meeting Muslims to evangelize them threatens social peace and contradicts the spirit and mandate of Jesus Christ and is therefore to be strictly rejected."
November 6. The newsmagazine, Focus, reported that sales of pepper spray jumped by 600% since Germany's migration crisis exploded in August 2015. Supplies of the product were completely sold out in many parts of the country and additional stocks would not become available until 2016. "Manufacturers and distributors say the huge influx of foreigners in recent weeks has apparently frightened many people," Focus reported.
November 7. Jürgen Mannke, director of the Teacher's Association of Saxony-Anhalt (Philologenverbandes Sachsen-Anhalt, PhVSA), was fired after advised underage female students to guard against "superficial sexual adventures" with Muslim asylum seekers. In the group's quarterly membership magazine, Mannke wrote:
"An immigrant invasion is inundating Germany. Many citizens are ambivalent about this. There is no doubt that it is our human duty to help people who are facing existential distress due to war and political persecution. But it is extremely difficult to distinguish these people from those who come to our country for purely economic or even criminal motives....
"Already, we hear from conversations with acquaintances in many places about sexual harassment in their daily lives, especially on public transportation and in supermarkets. As responsible educators, we ask ourselves: How can we enlighten our young girls aged 12 and up so that they do not engage in superficial sexual adventures with often certainly attractive Muslim men?"
November 10. Gabriel Felbermayr, director of the Munich-based Center for International Economics (Ifo Zentrum für Außenwirtschaft), estimated in an interview with Der Spiegel that the migrant crisis will cost German taxpayers €21.1 billion in 2015 alone. "This includes costs for housing, food, day care centers, schools, German language courses, training and administration," he said.
November 12. Speaking at a meeting of the Social Democrats (SPD) in Berlin, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel argued that Germany should airlift a "large contingent" of migrants into Germany to prevent human traffickers from profiting from the migrant crisis. "No one should die on the way to Europe, which must be our goal," he said. According to Gabriel, "What matters is not the number of people who come to Germany, but the speed at which they come."
November 13. N24 television news reported that up to 50% of the asylum seekers arriving in Germany have gone into hiding and their whereabouts are unknown. They presumably include economic migrants and others who are trying to avoid deportation if or when their asylum applications are rejected.
November 13. In an interview with the public television channel ZDF, Chancellor Angela Merkel doubled down on her open-door asylum policy: "The Chancellor has the situation under control. I have my vision. I will fight for it."
November 17. Authorities in Hanover called off a friendly soccer match between Germany and the Netherlands about 90 minutes before kickoff after police received a "credible" bomb threat. Chancellor Angela Merkel had planned to attend the match to show support for the victims of the jihadist attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed and more than 350 severely hurt.
November 20. The Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian alliance partner of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), called for Germany to ban the burqa in public spaces.
November 22. The head of the Federal Criminal Police Agency (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA), Holger Münch, acknowledged that German intelligence lacks the human resources necessary to track all of the most dangerous Islamists in the country. "Given the number of potential attackers, we must prioritize," he said.
November 23. In an interview with Die Welt, Ahmad Mansour, an Israeli-Arab expert on Islam who has lived in Germany for more than a decade, said the German government is not doing nearly enough to combat extremist Islam. Mansour — a member of the Muslim Brotherhood for more than a decade until he abandoned extremist Islam in the late 1990s — said that many young Muslims in Germany "believe in conspiracy theories, cherish anti-Semitic thoughts and do not think democratically." For these people, he said, "Islam is their only identity."
Mansour said the German government "lacks a plan" to deal with the problem of extremist Islam. He added that much of the blame lies with "highly problematic" teachers of Islam who are radicalizing German youth. Commenting on the question of why jihadists have not yet carried out a major attack in Germany, Mansour said: "So far Germany has been lucky."
November 29. Hundreds of migrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria housed at an overcrowded refugee shelter at the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin attacked each other while waiting in line for lunch. More than 150 police were deployed to contain the situation. Other mass confrontations occurred in the Kreuzberg and Spandau districts of Berlin.
December 1. Salafists in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein distributed recruitment literature with the message: "Come to us. We will show you Paradise."
December 1. City officials in Frankfurt sent teams of police, translators and social workers to refugee shelters to warn asylum seekers of the dangers of extremist Islam. The teams were also educating migrants about the German legal system, religious freedom and the equal rights for men and women.
December 3. In an interview with the Berlin newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel, Hans-Georg Maassen, the director of the Germany's domestic intelligence agency (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz, BfV), said that the number of Salafists in Germany has now risen to 7,900 — up from 7,000 in 2014; 5,500 in 2013; 4,500 in 2012, and 3,800 in 2011. Although Salafists make up only a small fraction of the estimated six million Muslims living in Germany, intelligence officials say that most of those attracted to Salafi ideology are impressionable young Muslims who are willing to carry out terrorist acts at a moment's notice in the name of Islam.
December 3. A poll by the newsmagazine Stern found that 61% of Germans believe jihadists will attack their country in the near future. The poll shows that 58% think the German military should be attacking the Islamic State, although 63% believe this would lead to retaliation in the form of terrorist attacks inside Germany. Overall, nearly 75% of Germans believe the government needs to do more to prevent terrorism in the country.
December 7. The German Interior Ministry revealed that 206,101 migrants had arrived in November alone.
December 8. Bavarian Social Minister Emilia Müller said that the number of migrants entering Germany in 2015 had officially passed the one million mark. "We urgently need an upper limit for the number of migrants, because Germany cannot continue to shoulder so many arrivals over the long term," she said.
December 10. A court in Wuppertal ruled that Islamists who patrolled streets in the city as "Sharia police" did not break the law and will not be prosecuted. Nine men, wearing bright orange jackets with the words "Sharia police," had been arrested in September 2014. The men had told passers-by not to visit bars, casinos or discotheques. The group had also carried notices in English saying "Sharia Controlled Zone," in which alcohol, drugs, gambling, music, pornography and prostitution were forbidden. The court said the men had not violated any laws on uniforms and public gatherings. Prosecutors lodged an appeal.
December 17. Police in Stuttgart raided and shut down a Muslim association and mosque said to have supported financially — and recruited on behalf of — ISIS. Baden-Württemberg's Interior Minister, Reinhold Gall, said The Islamic Educational and Cultural Center Mesdschid Sahabe was often frequented by Salafist preachers and Islamist fundamentalists from the West Balkans.
December 21. The newspaper, Die Welt, quoted police sources who revealed that only 10% of the one million migrants arriving in Germany in 2015 underwent background checks.
December 28. Local officials in Arnsberg banned the use of New Year's fireworks outside refugee shelters to prevent the noise from triggering post-traumatic stress among people seeking asylum. "Those who come from a war zone associate explosions with gunfire and bombs rather than fireworks," a spokesman for the local council, Christoph Söbbeler, said. "This could cause new trauma to those affected."
December 29. The newspaper, Die Welt, revealed that Germany will spend at least €17 billion ($18.3 billion) on asylum seekers in 2016.
December 31. Police in Munich evacuated two major railway stations and cancelled New Year's Eve celebrations after a "friendly intelligence agency" warned of an imminent attack. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said authorities received information that ISIS suicide bombers could target the central station.
December 31. The public television broadcaster ZDF aired Chancellor Angela Merkel's New Year's address to the nation with subtitles in Arabic. She repeated her mantra, "we can do this," referring to the challenge of integrating the one million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015. "What is important is that we do not allow ourselves to be divided, not between generations or social classes, nor between those who have been here a long time and those who are new," she said.
December 31. Shortly after Merkel's New Year's address, a mob of a thousand men of "Arab or North African" origin sexually assaulted more than 500 German women in downtown Cologne on New Year's Eve. Similar attacks also occurred in Hamburg and Stuttgart. Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers called it "a completely new dimension of crime."
The mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, said that "under no circumstances" should the crimes be attributed to asylum seekers. Instead, she blamed the victims for the assaults: "One must behave wisely when moving around in a group. One behaves wisely by not demonstrating exuberant joy to everyone you meet and who smiles at you. Such gestures can be misunderstood." Reker said her office would publish guidelines, presumably including a dress code, for German women and girls to follow to avoid similar incidents in the future.
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. His first book, Global Fire, will be out in early 2016.