The racialization of Islam in Germany
The discussion surrounding Islam's place in Germany is far from new; Islam is the third largest religious tradition in Europe, trailing Protestantism and Catholicism. Germany and France have the highest population percentage of Muslims in Europe and the highest population percentage of Turkish immigrants in Western Europe. This conversation, naturally, is not a one-sided, xenophobic, anti-Islam one. It is multifaceted and includes the Muslims targeted in the aforementioned hate-crimes. However, this paper is concerned with the nationalistic, xenophobic, anti-Islam sentiments and the ways in which those sentiments manifest in German society. The focus on a specific subset of German nationalists enables one to begin to unpack the roots of the issues nationalists have with Islam. The German nationalists in this paper view themselves as the spokespeople for all Germans, individuals who fit into a white, Christo-centric understanding of German-ness. German nationalists conceive of the visibility of Islam in Germany (minarets, mosques, headscarves, etc.) as a direct challenge to German and Western European culture, values, and ideals. German nationalists, therefore, racialize Muslims as a dangerous demographic who refuse to, or are incapable of, assimilation or integration into German culture and threaten to upend and eventually destroy an idealized German identity.