At a time of growing hate crimes targeting Muslims, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier paid a special visit to a mosque in the southern town of Penzberg on Monday, calling for more understanding and respect between religions, Anadolu Agency reported.
This is true “especially at a time when polarization in our society is increasing again, in which we also experience much hatred,” Steinmeier said.
The German President added that what is taking place in Penzberg and at the mosque is exactly what he wants for his country.
“Curiosity for each other and respect for each other” as seen in everyday life,” he said, addressing the local imam of the mosque, Benjamin Idriz.
“In this respect, something is happening here that we really want to have: that the growing together of people of different faiths is as respectful as we experience it here in Penzberg,” Steinmeier added.
The German President praised the commitment of the Islamic community in the town but also thanked the people of Penzberg for embracing the Islamic community with so much openness and respect.
According to the Pew Research Center report in 2017, Muslims form the largest minority religious group in the country with about 5 million people, representing about 6.1 percent of the German population.
More than half of the Muslims in Germany, about 63.2 percent, are of Turkish and Kurdish origins. Both groups are followed by Muslims from Pakistan, Bosnia, Albania, North Africa, the Levant, Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Most Muslims live in the capital Berlin and the large metropolises of former West Germany.