Germany’s Muslim population surpassed six million in 2016 for the first time ever. Germany now vies with France for the highest Muslim population in Western Europe.
The increase in Germany’s Muslim population is being fueled by mass migration. An estimated 300,000 migrants arrived in Germany in 2016, in addition to the more than one million who arrived in 2015. At least 80% (or 800,000 in 2015 and 240,000 in 2016) of the newcomers were Muslim, according to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany.
In addition to the newcomers, the rate of population increase of the Muslim community already living in Germany is around 1.6% per year (or 77,000), according to data extrapolated from a Pew Research Center study on the growth of the Muslim population in Europe.
Based on Pew projections, which were proffered before the current migration crisis, the Muslim population of Germany was to have reached an estimated 5,145,000 by the end of 2015.
Adding the 800,000 Muslim migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015, and the 240,000 who arrived in 2016, combined with the 77,000 natural increase, the Muslim population of Germany jumped by 1,117,000, to reach an estimated 6,262,000 by the end of 2016. This amounts to approximately 7.5% of Germany’s overall population of 82 million.
Mass migration from the Muslim world is fast-tracking the Islamization of Germany, as evidenced by the proliferation of no-go zones, Sharia courts, polygamy and child marriages. Mass migration has also been responsible for a host of social disruptions, including jihadist attacks, a migrant rape epidemic, a public health crisis, rising crime and a rush by German citizens to purchase weapons for self-defense — and even to abandon Germany altogether.
What follows is a chronological round-up of some of the key stories about the Islamization of Germany during 2016.
January 1. Mobs of Muslim men of “Arab or North African” origin sexually assaulted hundreds of women in Cologne and other German cities. Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers called it “a completely new dimension of crime.” The government and mainstream media were accused of trying to cover up the crimes to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiment.
January 1. The Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, rejected public concerns about the “alleged Islamization” of Germany. “How should Muslims, who represent a minority, Islamize our society?” he asked. Germans feel insecure, he said, because “people are afraid of strangers they do not know.”
January 3. Bremen Police Union Chairman Jochen Kopelke said that migrants were attacking city police with increasing frequency: “The tone has become extremely aggressive; sometimes the police must apply massive force to get a situation under control.” Bremen Senator Ulrich Mäurer added: “The excesses of violence against police officers show that these people have no respect for our constitutional order and its representatives.”
January 4. A leaked police report revealed chaos “beyond description” in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Women were forced to “run a gauntlet” of drunken men of a “migrant background” to enter and exit the central train station. Police officers were unable to re-establish order. One migrant reprimanded a police officer: “I am Syrian; you have to treat me kindly! Mrs. Merkel invited me.”
January 6. Former Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said it was “scandalous that it took the mainstream media several days” to report on the sexual assaults in Cologne. He said public media was a “cartel of silence” exercising censorship to protect migrants from accusations of wrongdoing.
January 9. Development Minister Gerd Müller warned that the biggest refugee movements to Europe are still to come. He said that only 10% of the migrants from the chaos in Iraq and Syria have reached Europe so far: “Eight to ten million migrants are still on the way.”
January 9. A vigilante group began patrolling the streets of Düsseldorf to “make the city safer for our women.” Similar groups emerged in Cologne and Stuttgart.
January 12. Frank Oesterhelweg, a politician with the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), caused a scandal when he said that police should be authorized to use deadly force to prevent migrants from raping German women. Bild reported that many German police officers are afraid of using lethal force “because of the legal consequences.”
January 17. Berlin clergyman Gottfried Martens accused German politicians and church leaders of ignoring the persecution of Christians by Muslims in German refugee shelters. He said that the Christians were facing “verbal threats, threats with knives, blows to the face, ripped crucifixes, torn Bibles, insults of being an infidel, and denial of access to the kitchen.”
January 18. A 24-year-old migrant from Sudan was released after being held for questioning at a police station in Hanover. After crossing the street, the man, who receives 300 euros ($335) a month in social welfare benefits, dropped his pants, exposed himself in public and shouted, “Who are you? You cannot do anything to me. Whatever I cannot get from the state, I will steal.”
January 20. Migrants invaded female changing rooms and showers at public swimming pools in Leipzig. City officials tried to keep the incidents quiet, but details were leaked to the media.
January 21. More than 200 migrants sued the German government for delays in processing their asylum applications.
January 26. In an interview with Deutschlandfunk public radio, retired public media personality Wolfgang Herles admitted that public broadcasters receive “instructions from above” when it comes to reporting the news:
“We have the problem that we are too close to the government. The topics we cover are determined by the government. But many of the topics the government wants to prevent us from reporting about are more important than the topics they want us to cover…
“We must report in such a way that serves Europe and the common good, as it pleases Mrs. Merkel. There are written instructions … today we are not allowed to say anything negative about the refugees. This is government journalism, and this leads to a situation in which the public loses their trust in us. This is scandalous.”
January 28. Politicians in Kiel ordered city police to overlook crimes perpetrated by migrants. Police in North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony were also instructed to be lenient to criminal migrants.
January 28. A migrant from Sudan sexually assaulted a female police officer in Hanover as she was attempting to arrest him for theft. “Such brazen behavior towards a police officer has been unheard of until now,” said public prosecutor Thomas Klinge.
January 28. Berlin’s Tempelhof airport, the iconic site of the Berlin Airlift in 1948-49, became the biggest refugee shelter in Germany. Opposition politicians said the government was creating an “immigrant ghetto” in the heart of Berlin.
January 30. A gang of Afghan migrants on a Munich subway attacked two elderly men who tried to stop them from groping a woman. Although they had been denied asylum in Germany four years earlier, they were not deported because Afghanistan is “too dangerous.”
January 31. ISIS sympathizers defaced more than 40 gravestones at a cemetery in Konstanz with slogans such as, “Germans out of Syria,” “Christ is Dead” and “Islamic State.”
|The words “I HATE GERMANS” are spray-painted on a gravestone, one of more than 40 vandalized by Islamic State sympathizers at a cemetery in Konstanz, Germany. (Image source: Silvan500 video screenshot)|
January 31. In an effort to silence critics of the government’s open door migration policy, Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel called on German intelligence to begin monitoring the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the third-largest party in Germany. The AfD is surging in popularity because of its anti-immigration platform.
February 2. A total of 91,671 migrants — an average of around 3,000 migrants each day — entered Germany during the month of January 2016.
February 4. German police arrested four members of a cell allegedly planning jihadist attacks in Berlin. The ringleader — a 35-year-old Algerian who was staying at a refugee shelter in Attendorn with his wife and two children — arrived in Germany posing as an asylum seeker from Syria. He reportedly received military training from the Islamic State.
February 5. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, revealed that more than 100 Islamic State fighters may be living in Germany as refugees, some of whom are known to have entered the country with fake or stolen passports.
February 8. German police arrested an alleged ISIS commander who was living at a refugee shelter in Sankt Johann. The 32-year-old jihadist, posing as a Syrian asylum seeker, entered Germany in the fall of 2015.
February 16. Migrants committed 208,344 crimes in 2015, according to a leaked police report. This figure represented an 80% increase over 2014 and worked out to around 570 crimes committed by migrants every day, or 23 crimes each hour, between January and December 2015.
The actual number of migrant crimes is far higher, however, because the report included only crimes that have been solved (aufgeklärten Straftaten). Statistics show that only around half of all crimes committed in Germany in any given year are solved (Aufklärungsquote). This implies that the actual number of crimes committed by migrants in 2015 exceeded 400,000.
February 16. Police raided the homes of 44 Salafists in Bremen. “It is rather apocalyptic that we have people living in the middle of our city who are prepared, from one day to the next, to participate massively in the terror of the Islamic State,” said Bremen Interior Minister Ulrich Mäurer.
February 25. Afghan asylum seekers assaulted three girls at the Sophienhof shopping mall in Kiel. After posting photographs of the girls on social media, the two men were joined by at least 30 other migrants who began to harass the girls. When police arrived, the migrants verbally and physically abused the officers. Only two of the perpetrators were apprehended.
February 26. A 15-year-old German girl of Moroccan descent stabbed and wounded a police officer at the central train station in Hanover. The stabbing was the first Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack in Germany. “The perpetrator did not display any emotion,” police said. “Her only concern was for her headscarf. Whether the police officer survived, she did not care.”
February 29. German authorities admitted they lost track of some 130,000 migrants who entered the country in 2015. The admission was in response to a parliamentary question from the opposition Left Party. The revelation raised concerns that unaccounted migrants could include jihadists who entered the country posing as refugees.
March 1. The Schleswig-Holstein branch of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU announced plans to ensure that pork continues to be available at public canteens, child daycare centers and schools across the north German state. CDU politician Daniel Günther complained that canteens, nurseries and schools are removing pork from their menu in order not to offend Muslims. “The consumption of pork belongs to our culture,” he said. “No one should be obliged to do so. But we also don’t want the majority having to refrain from pork.”
March 3. The Arriba water park in Norderstedt, one of the largest such parks in Germany, announced that males and females would be segregated after two Afghan migrants raped a 14-year-old girl at the facility.
March 4. A court in Düsseldorf sentenced Nils Donath, a 25-year-old German national, to four-and-a-half years in prison for joining the Islamic State. The court heard how Donath, a convert to Islam, received weapons training and learned how to build bombs — and how he volunteered to carry out jihadist attacks in Europe.
March 7. Police in Cologne arrested a 25-year-old German national, Shahid Ilgar Oclu S, on charges of being a member of the Islamic State.
March 24. Following a wave of sexual assaults by migrants, the Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn, a railway in central Germany, announced plans to install women-only compartments.
March 31. The German Ministry for Families designated €200 million to fight the sexual abuse of women and children in refugee shelters.
April 3. Two migrants from Afghanistan were arrested for forcing a 14-year-old boy to perform sex acts on them at a public swimming pool in Delbrück.
April 10. A 26-year-old Syrian migrant admitted to setting fire to a migrant shelter in Bingen. He also admitted to painting swastikas outside the building in order to make it look as though the fire was set by anti-immigration protesters.
April 11. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency, expressed alarm at the growing number of radical mosques in Germany. “Many mosques are dominated by fundamentalists and are being monitored because of their Salafist orientation,” Maassen said. Many of the mosques are being financed by Saudi Arabia.
April 13. Andreas Scheuer, the General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s CDU, called for an “Islam law” that would limit the influence of foreign imams and prohibit the foreign financing of mosques. His comments came amid reports that the Turkish government has sent 970 clerics — most of whom do not speak German — to lead 900 mosques in Germany that are controlled by the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), a branch of the Turkish government’s Directorate for Religious Affairs, known in Turkish as Diyanet. Critics accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using DITIB mosques to prevent Turkish migrants from integrating into German society.
April 14. Angela Merkel and her coalition partners reached a compromise deal on a new “Integration Law” to spell out the rights and responsibilities of migrants in Germany: asylum seekers must attend German language classes and integration training or have their benefits cut. Critics said the law does not go far enough because it does not threaten with deportation those migrants who refuse to integrate.
April 14. Angela Merkel acquiesced to a demand by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that German comedian Jan Böhmermann be criminally prosecuted for reciting a poem that lampooned Erdogan. She was accused of pandering to Erdogan’s autocratic government.
April 15. A 13-year-old German boy of Iraqi descent was arrested in Turkey after he attempted to join the Islamic State. Police said the boy, originally from Munich, was going to Syria to obtain combat training in order to return to Bavaria to carry out attacks there.
April 24. The Roman Catholic Cardinal of Cologne, Rainer Maria Woelki, ridiculed the Alternative for Germany (AfD) for saying that Islam is incompatible with the German constitution. “Whoever says ‘yes’ to church towers must also say ‘yes’ to minarets.”
May 1. The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) adopted a manifesto calling for curbs to migration and restrictions on Islam. The document called for a ban on minarets, Muslim calls to prayer and full-face veils.
May 2. Hans-Georg Maassen, the German spy chief, revealed that around 90 “predominately Arabic-speaking” mosques in Germany are under surveillance. He said they involve mostly “backyard mosques” where “self-proclaimed imams and self-proclaimed emirs” are “inciting their followers to jihad.”
May 2. A Cologne police superintendent revealed that he was ordered to remove the term “rape” from an internal police report about the mass sexual assaults in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. He said that an official at the North-Rhine Westphalia Interior Ministry told him: “This is not rape. Remove this term from your report. Submit a new report.” The revelation added to suspicions of a political cover-up to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.
May 3. A 20-year-old Afghan migrant sexually assaulted a six-year-old boy in the changing room of a sports hall in Munich. Police said the same migrant had sexually assaulted an 11-year-old girl at a public swimming pool in 2013.
May 5. An INSA poll found that 60% of the Germans surveyed believe that Islam does not belong to Germany. Nearly half (46%) of those surveyed said they are worried about the “Islamization” of Germany.
May 9. The German branch of Open Doors, a non-governmental organization supporting persecuted Christians, reported that thousands of Christians in German refugee shelters are being persecuted by Muslims, sometimes even by their security guards. The report, which asserts that in most cases German authorities have done nothing to protect the victims, alleges that German authorities and police have deliberately downplayed and even covered up the “taboo issue” of Muslim attacks on Christian refugees, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.
May 10. A German man shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is the Greatest”) and “infidels must die” stabbed one person to death and slashed three others in an early morning attack at a train station near Munich.
May 11. Turkish-born Muhterem Aras, 50, became the first Muslim woman to be elected as speaker of the state parliament in Baden-Württemberg. Her election was hailed as a Muslim integration success story. Aras has been a proponent of allowing migrants without German citizenship to vote in local elections.
May 12. An appeals court in Bamberg recognized the marriage of a 15-year-old Syrian girl to her 21-year-old cousin. The court ruled that the marriage was valid because it was contracted in Syria, where such marriages are allowed according to Islamic Sharia law. The ruling effectively legalized Sharia child marriages in Germany.
May 14. A Finance Ministry document revealed that the migrant crisis could end up costing German taxpayers €93.6 billion ($105 billion) between now and 2020. About €25.7 billion would be for social spending, such as unemployment benefits and housing support. About €5.7 billion would be destined for language courses and €4.6 billion for integrating refugees into the workforce.
May 15. Nearly a dozen women between the ages of 16 and 48 reported being sexually assaulted by male migrants at a music festival in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. The attacks at the Carnival of Cultures, where groups of men encircled the women and assaulted and robbed them, were similar to those in Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve.
May 16. Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), called on Germany’s main Islamic associations to “explicitly distance” themselves from Islamic sharia law, something they have so far refused to do. She said the AfD was not opposed to Muslims but to political Islam, which she said contradicts the German constitution.
May 18. Migrants sexually assaulted female passersby at the Boulevard Berlin shopping mall in the Steglitz district of the capital. At least 35 teenage migrants were loitering at the mall, in part because of free access to the internet. When security guards asked them to leave the premises, the youths called for back-up and soon dozens more migrants arrived to harass the guards.
May 22. A doctor in Cologne was sued for discrimination after he declined to treat a Muslim woman who refused to shake his hand. The woman said she could not shake the doctor’s hand on religious grounds. The doctor noted that the Koran does not prohibit handshakes.
May 23. A 23-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker wearing a T-shirt with the words “I’m Muslim Don’t Panic” was assaulted by fellow refugees for offending Islam. He was beaten so badly that he was hospitalized.
May 23. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann announced a plan to recruit migrants to the police force — regardless of whether they have acquired German citizenship. He said he hoped the initiative would create a “more direct line” to people with an immigrant background by hiring those who understand their mentality.
May 26. Increasing numbers of Germans are relocating to Hungary because of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open door migration policy, according to the newsmagazine, Focus.
May 27. The head of the Protestant Church in Germany, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, called for Islam to be taught in all German public schools as a way to prevent young Muslims from becoming radicalized. “Tolerance, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience should apply to all religions,” he said. “These principles can be best taught if religion is part of the state’s educational mission.”
May 27. A Protestant church in Hamburg held a funeral service for a convert to Islam who was killed in Syria while fighting for the Islamic State. The funeral at the St. Pauli church was for a teenager who was born in Cameroon and raised as a Christian in Hamburg. When he was 14 he converted to Islam, became radicalized and joined the German Salafist movement. He left for Syria on a false passport. Pastor Sieghard Wilm, who organized the “interfaith” funeral, said the church should be a “place of learning for the respect of other religions.”
May 29. Green party politician Stefanie von Berg called for new mosques to be built in every district of Hamburg so that the city’s burgeoning Muslim population has enough space to pray. She said the construction of new mosques is necessary to integrate the Muslim community. The Heinrich Böll Foundation, a think tank linked to the Green party, estimates that there are more than 150,000 Muslims in Hamburg, the second-largest city in Germany, but fewer than 50 mosques.
May 31. Male migrants sexually assaulted at least 18 women at an outdoor festival in Darmstadt. The attacks at the Schlossgrabenfest, in which large numbers of men surrounded women and sexually assaulted them, were similar to those that occurred in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.
May 31. The Dalai Lama said that Germany has accepted “too many” migrants and that they should eventually be returned to help rebuild their home countries. “Germany cannot become an Arab country,” he said in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “Germany is Germany.”
June 2. A new statistical survey of Germany showed that ethnic Turks are economically and educationally less successful than other immigrant groups. The report, produced by Destatis, Germany’s official statistics agency, showed that more than one-third (36%) of ethnic Turks live below the poverty line. Only 60% complete secondary school (Hauptschulabschluss), while less than 10% of ethnic Turks between the ages of 17 and 45 earn a Bachelor’s degree. Education is a determinative factor for successful integration, the report said.
June 2. Three Syrian jihadists were arrested for plotting a jihadist attack in Düsseldorf. A fourth individual was arrested in France. The plan involved two suicide bombers who would blow themselves up along the Heinrich-Heine-Allee, a busy street in the city center. Subsequently, other assassins would kill as many passers-by as possible with guns and bombs.
June 3. The head of the German police union, Rainer Wendt, said that budget cuts in the public sector made it impossible to vet all of the migrants coming into Germany. He was responding to demands that all migrants undergo immediate security checks.
June 12. Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel compared members of the anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD), the third-largest party in Germany, to the Nazis.
June 13. Half of the three million ethnic Turks living in Germany believe it is more important to follow Islamic Sharia law than German law if the two are in conflict, according to a survey. One-third also yearn for German society to “return” to the way it was during the time of Mohammed, the founder of Islam, in the Arabia of the early seventh century. The survey — which polled Turks who have been living in Germany for many years, often decades — refuted claims by German authorities that Muslims are well integrated into German society.
June 25. Police discovered a huge stockpile of military-grade weapons in a grocery store near a mosque in Cologne. “The danger posed by fundamentalist Salafists who are arming themselves to use violence in Germany is very great,” said local politician Ismail Tipi. “This secret raid makes this more than clear.”
June 30. A court in Ahrensburg found a 17-year-old migrant from Eritrea guilty of attempting to rape an 18-year-old woman at the Bad Oldesloe train station. After police arrived, the migrant resisted arrest and head-butted a police officer, who was hospitalized. The court gave the man a seven-month suspended sentence.
July 1. A court in Bavaria ruled that a law that prohibits Muslim legal trainees from wearing headscarves is illegal.
July 3. A 24-year-old woman, raped by three migrants in Mannheim in January, admitted to lying about the identity of her attackers. Selin Gören, a Turkish-German woman, initially said that her attackers were German nationals, when in fact they were Muslim migrants. Gören said she lied because she was afraid of fueling racism against migrants.
July 4. The 30 biggest German companies have employed only 54 refugees, including 50 who have been hired as couriers by Deutsche Post, the logistics provider. The data cast doubt on Angela Merkel’s promise to integrate asylum seekers into the German labor market as quickly as possible. Company executives say the main problem is that migrants lack professional qualifications and German language skills.
July 7. The German parliament approved changes to the criminal code to expand the definition of rape. Also known as the “No Means No” (“Nein heißt Nein”) law, any form of non-consensual sex will now be punishable as a crime. Previously, only cases in which victims could show that they physically resisted their attackers were punishable under German law. The changes, which were prompted by the sex attacks in Cologne, were hailed as a “paradigm shift” in German jurisprudence.
July 7. More than six months after the Cologne attacks, a German court issued the first two convictions: The District Court of Cologne gave a 20-year-old Iraqi and a 26-year-old Algerian a one-year suspended sentence and then released the two men. Observers said the light sentences were a mockery of justice.
July 10. A Federal Criminal Police Agency (BKA) inquiry into the sex attacks in Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and other German cities on New Year’s Eve found that more than 1,200 women were victims of attacks, which were perpetrated by more than 2,000 men, most of whom are believed to be from North Africa. BKA President Holger Münch said: “There is a relationship between the attacks and the strong wave of migration in 2015.”
July 13. The Platanus-Schule, a private bilingual school in Berlin, apologized to a Muslim imam after a teacher at the school called him “misogynistic” and “ill-adapted to German life” because he refused to shake her hand. Critics accused the school of endangering the principle of gender equality in Germany. The imam’s lawyer said the apology was insufficient.
July 14. Ruprecht Polenz, a former secretary general of the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said that the German law which regulates name changes (Namensrecht) should be amended to make it easier for Muslim migrants in Germany who feel discriminated against to change their legal names to Christian-sounding ones.
July 15. At least 24 women were sexually assaulted at a music festival in Bremen. The attacks were similar to the attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Police were able to identify only five perpetrators, all of whom are migrants from Afghanistan.
July 16. A document leaked to Der Spiegel revealed that more than 33,000 migrants who are supposed to be deported are still in Germany and are being cared for by German taxpayers. Many of the migrants destroyed their passports and are believed to have lied about their countries of origin to make it impossible for them to be deported.
July 17. An investigative report by Bavarian Radio BR24 found that deradicalization programs in Germany are failing because many Salafists do not want to become deradicalized.
July 19. A 17-year-old Afghan asylum seeker brandishing an axe and shouting “Allahu Akbar” seriously injured five people on a train in Würzburg. The assailant was shot dead by police after he charged at them with the axe. The teenager had been placed with a foster family just two weeks before the attack as a reward for being “well integrated.” Green Party MP Renate Künast criticized the police for using lethal force.
July 19. The managers of a German Red Cross refugee shelter in Potsdam were accused of covering up the sexual abuse of women at the facility.
July 20. The Federal Labor Office reported that the educational level of newly arrived migrants in Germany is far lower than expected: only a quarter have a high school diploma, while three quarters have no vocational training at all. Only 4% of new arrivals to Germany are highly qualified.
July 22. Ali Sonboly, an 18-year-old Iranian-German who harbored hatred for Arabs and Turks, killed ten people (including himself) and wounded 35 others at a McDonald’s in Munich.
July 23. A mob of men shouting “Allahu Akbar” barged into a nudist beach in Xanten and “insulted and threatened” the beachgoers. Police kept the incident hidden, apparently to avoid negative media coverage of Muslims “in these sensitive times.”
July 24. Mohammed Daleel, a 27-year-old migrant from Syria whose asylum application was rejected, injured 15 people when he blew himself up at a concert in Ansbach. The suicide bombing was the first in Germany attributed to the Islamic State.
July 24. A 21-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker murdered a 45-year-old Polish woman and her unborn baby in a machete attack in Reutlingen.
July 24. A 40-year-old migrant from Eritrea raped a 79-year-old woman in a cemetery in Ibbenbüren. The woman, who lives in a local nursing home, was visiting the grave of her late sister at 6AM when the attack occurred.
July 25. A 45-year-old Palestinian brandishing a “Rambo knife” and shouting “Allahu Akbar” tried to behead a doctor in Bonn. The attacker’s 19-year-old son had complained about the doctor’s treatment for a fractured leg. The man, holding the doctor down on the floor, said: “Apologize to my son. Go down on your knees and kiss his hand.”
July 25. Frank Henkel, a CDU Senator from Berlin, said: “No one should delude themselves: We obviously have imported some brutal people who are capable of committing barbaric crimes in our country. We have to say this clearly and without taboos. This also means that we must deal aggressively with Islamism. If we do not, we risk that German politics will be perceived as being detached from reality.”
July 25. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière revealed that German authorities are currently investigating 59 refugees because of the “suspicion that they are involved in terrorist structures.”
July 27. Police in Ludwigsburg arrested a 15-year-old who they said was planning a mass-shooting. Police found more than 300 rounds of ammunition, as well as knives, chemicals and bullet-proof vests, during a search of the teenager’s home.
July 28. Angela Merkel insisted there would be no change to her open-door migration stance: “We decided to fulfill our humanitarian tasks. Refusing humanitarian support would be something I would not want to do and I would not recommend this to Germany…. Anxiety and fear cannot guide our political decisions.”
July 29. Thomas Jahn, the vice chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU), lambasted Angela Merkel’s open-door migration policy: “We need to control our borders. That is the most important thing at the moment. And we need to send the dangerous people with Islamist ideology back to the countries outside Europe and the European Union.”
July 30. CSU politician Jens Spahn called for a burqa ban: “A ban on the full body veil — that is the niqab and the burqa — is overdue… I do not want to have to encounter any burqa in this country. In that sense, I am a burqaphobe.”
August 2. Amid fears of Islamic terrorism, German officials raised the possibility of deploying the military within German borders for the first time since World War II.
August 11. Muslim patrols enforcing Sharia law were seen operating in the Wandsbek and Dammtor district of Hamburg.
August 16. Asylum seekers in Lower Saxony refused to accept job offers because they were “guests of Angela Merkel.”
August 19. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called for a partial ban on full-face veils in public. “We unanimously reject the burqa,” de Maizière said. “It does not fit in our open country.” North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jäger, said a burqa ban was misguided because it would require a ban on all religious garb: “Whoever forbids burqas, must also forbid people disguised as Saint Nicholas.”
August 25. Police in Hamburg launched a crackdown on purse-snatchers. More than 20,000 purses—roughly 55 a day—are stolen in the city each year. According to police, 90% of the purses are stolen by young males from North Africa or the Balkans.
August 28. A 26-year-old German national shouting Allahu Akhbar stabbed a 66-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man who were picnicking in Oberhausen.
August 28. Angela Merkel urged people of Turkish origin living in Germany not to bring their conflicts to Germany.
September 3. Only 2,500 people attended a mass rally in Berlin to protest the Alternative for Germany (AfD). The organizers of the rally, including members of the Green Party, and the Left Party, had expected around 10,000 demonstrators to show up.
September 3. The Vice Chairman of the DPolG German Police Union in Hamburg, Freddi Lohse, said that many migrant offenders view the leniency of the German justice system as a green light to continue delinquent behavior. “They are used to tougher consequences in their home countries,” he said. “They have no respect for us.”
September 4. Angela Merkel suffered a major blow when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged ahead of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in elections in her home state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. With 20.8% of the vote, the AfD came in second place behind the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) (30.6%). Merkel’s CDU came in third place, with 19% of the vote, the worst result it has ever had in Meck-Pomm, as the state is called for short. The election in Meck-Pomm was widely seen as a referendum on Merkel’s open-door migration policy.
September 6. Migrants committed 142,500 crimes during the first six months of 2016, according to a report by the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA). This is equivalent to 780 crimes committed by migrants every day, or 32.5 crimes each hour, an increase of nearly 40% over 2015. The data includes only those crimes in which a migrant suspect has been caught.
September 7. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) calculated that Germany will spend some €20 billion on refugees in 2016. “Particularly large portions of the expenditure involve … the initial provision of accommodation or health care services, as well as services such as the renting of accommodations,” IfW said.
September 9. The German Interior Ministry, responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that 1,475 married children are known to be living in Germany as of July 31, 2016 — including 361 children under the age of 14. Most of the married children are from Syria (664), Afghanistan (157) and Iraq (100). Nearly 80% (1,152) are girls. The true number of child marriages in Germany is believed to be much higher than the official statistics suggest because many are being concealed.
September 13. Muslim fashion shops in Germany are serving as stepping stones to Islamic extremism, according to Germany’s ARD public broadcaster. They are “competing” with Western socialization by helping women adopt an orthodox Islamic way of life, eventually assimilating them into Salafism and subsequently, extremist Islam.
September 13. Three Syrian jihadists were arrested in Schleswig-Holstein. They were believed to be members of an Islamic State sleeper cell waiting for further instructions to carry out attacks in Germany.
September 17. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann accused the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) of failing to root out potentially tens of thousands of fake passports. Many migrants entering Europe as Syrians are, in fact, from another country of origin. Almost 40% of all Moroccans who entered Greece falsely represented themselves as Syrians, according to one study.
September 23. A new poll showed that support for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) surged to 16%, its best result ever, and more than three times the 5% needed to win seats in the parliament. According to the poll, Angela Merkel’s CDU is at 32%, while the Social Democrats, the junior partner in the ruling coalition, would get 22%. Together they would have 54%, enough for the ruling coalition to continue.
September 30. A 28-year-old migrant sexually assaulted a 27-year-old woman on a train. German media initially reported the nationality of the perpetrator but then deleted the information. “This article initially included the nationality of the offender,” a statement said. “The reference was subsequently removed because it did not correspond to our editorial guidelines — that is, there is no connection between nationality and action.”
October 1. Two migrants raped a 23-year-old woman in Lüneburg as she was walking in a park with her young child. The men, who remain at large, forced the child to watch while they took turns assaulting the woman.
October 2. A 19-year-old migrant raped a 90-year-old woman as she was leaving a church in downtown Düsseldorf. Police initially described the suspect as “a Southern European with North African roots.” It later emerged that the man is a Moroccan with a Spanish passport.
October 2. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called for the development of a “German Islam” to help integrate Muslims in the country.
October 4. The 2016 Munich Oktoberfest recorded its lowest turnout since 2001. Visitors reportedly stayed away due to concerns about terrorism and migrant-related sexual assaults.
October 17. The German Press Council reprimanded the weekly newspaper, Junge Freiheit, for revealing the nationality of three Afghan teenagers who raped a woman at a train station in Vienna, Austria. The press council said the nationality of the perpetrators is “not relevant” to the case. By revealing this information, the newspaper “deliberately and pejoratively represented the suspects as second-class persons.”
October 24. A YouGov poll found that 68% of Germans believe that security in the country has deteriorated due to mass migration. Nearly 70% of respondents said they fear for their lives and property in German train stations and subways, while 63% feel unsafe at large public events.
October 24. Serbian teenagers in Hamburg were allowed to walk free after gang-raping a 14-year-old girl and leaving her for dead in sub-zero temperatures. The judge said that although “the penalties may seem mild to the public,” the teens no longer posed a danger to society.
October 27. Public prosecutors charged Shaas Al-M, a 19-year-old Syrian jihadist who arrived in Germany posing as a refugee, with plotting to bomb popular tourist sites in Berlin, including the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, for the Islamic State.
November 3. Five Somali migrants went on a rampage after the owner of a pub in Wabern asked them to pay for the alcohol they had consumed. “We are Somalis, we don’t pay,” the men said before smashing up the establishment.
November 11. The Military Intelligence Service (Militärische Abschirmdienst, MAD) reported that more than 20 Islamists are serving in the German armed forces, and another 60 service members are suspected of being Islamists. Some 30 veterans are known to have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq. The report raised concerns that Islamists are joining the German armed forces in order to obtain combat training.
November 15. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière banned the Salafist group, “The True Religion” (Die wahre Religion), for being unconstitutional. The group is behind a mass proselytization campaign — Project “Read!” — aimed at distributing 25 million copies of the Koran, translated into the German language, with the goal of placing one Koran into every home in Germany, free of charge. De Maizière said the campaign amounted to a “systematic infringement of our fundamental values.”
November 18. Public prosecutors charged two North African migrants for setting fire to a migrant shelter in Düsseldorf. The arson attack, which injured 26 people and caused more than 10 million euros in damage, was reportedly triggered by a dispute over food. The two men were angry because they felt there were not enough sweets offered at a buffet lunch.
November 20. A 38-year-old German-Kurdish man in Lower Saxony tied his ex-wife to his car and dragged her through the streets of Hameln. The crime drew attention to the problem of Sharia justice in Germany.
November 21. The Wuppertal District Court ruled that seven Islamists who formed a vigilante patrol to enforce Sharia law on the streets of Wuppertal did not break German law and were simply exercising their right to free speech.
November 23. Bild, the largest-circulation newspaper in Germany, warned that the country was “capitulating to Islamic law.”
November 27. German radio broadcaster Deutschlandradio Kultur reported that Muslim migrants enrolled in German schools are bullying their Christian counterparts. In some cases, the persecution is so great that Christian parents have moved their children to other schools.
November 29. A German intelligence officer confessed to plotting to bomb the Cologne-based headquarters of the domestic intelligence agency, the BfV. The 51-year-old convert to Islam was tasked with monitoring the German Salafist scene.
December 3. A 17-year-old Afghan migrant was arrested for raping and murdering a 19-year-old medical student in Freiburg. Police said she may have met her killer at the asylum shelter where she was a volunteer. Freiburg Mayor Dieter Salomon warned against making generalizations about migrants because this crime was an “isolated case.”
December 6. Eyeing reelection, Angela Merkel called for a burka ban: “The full veil is not appropriate here and it should be forbidden wherever that is legally possible.” In September, Merkel said she was opposed to a burka ban because it would violate “religious freedom.”
December 8. The Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany’s highest court, ruled that Muslim girls must take part in mixed swimming classes at school, finding against an 11-year-old pupil who had argued that even wearing a burkini, or full-body swimsuit, breached Islamic dress codes. The court rejected an appeal by the girl’s parents that she should be excused from the classes because a burkini did not conform to the Islamic standard of decency.
December 13. The trial began of a 45-year-old Iraqi migrant accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old boy 68 times at a refugee shelter in Spandau, Berlin. The perpetrator said his actions were the result of a “love affair.”
December 14. A judge in Oldenburg ruled that a 19-year-old Afghan migrant who groped two women at a festival in Bad Zwischenahn was not guilty of sexual assault. “It is quite conceivable that the young man wanted to communicate his interest for the women in this way,” the judge said.
December 16. A 12-year-old German boy of Iraqi descent tried to detonate a nail bomb at a Christmas market in Ludwigshafen.
December 19. At least 12 people were killed and dozens injured after a truck rammed into a Christmas market in Berlin. The main suspect in the attack was Anis Amri, a 23-year-old migrant from Tunisia who arrived in Germany in July 2015 and applied for asylum in April 2016. Although Amri’s application for asylum had been rejected in July 2016, he was not deported because he did not have a valid passport.
December 20. Frauke Petry, the chairwoman of the Alternative for Germany, said Angela Merkel bears responsibility for the attack on the Berlin Christmas market:
“The milieu in which such acts can flourish has been negligently and systematically imported over the past year and a half. Our borders, which were so irresponsibly opened, must once again be controlled. Germany is no longer safe.”
December 22. Bild reported that the head of the judicial authority in Hamburg, Till Steffen, refused to allow police to release pictures of the Berlin terror suspect, Anis Amri, for more than 12 hours after the attack because he feared that sharing the images would incite racial hatred.
December 22. Underage migrants at a refugee shelter in Freising were watching Islamic State propaganda videos, creating jihadist flags and posing with the insignia of the terrorist organization in front of the camera. “Watching IS-videos or crafting an IS-flag may indicate that a radicalization process is at an advanced stage,” German authorities said.
December 27. Police arrested seven migrants from Syria and Libya on charges of setting a homeless man on fire on Christmas Eve at the Schönleinstraße subway station in Berlin. Video footage captured them laughing as the man was burning on the platform. Police said all seven of the perpetrators, the youngest of whom is 15, arrived in Berlin as refugees.
December 31. Police in Cologne — who were tasked with avoiding a repeat of the mass sexual assaults that occurred in the city on New Year’s Eve in 2015 — were accused of racial profiling when they questioned more than 600 migrants from North Africa.
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.