According to the results of a study conducted by the Center for Turkish Studies from the University of Essen and published this week, the image of Islam among German politicians has worsened over the last few years.
Muslims in Germany feel pressured by the negative perception of Islam
Researchers at the Center for Turkish Studies studied the minutes of the debates in the German parliament as well as media reports from 2000 to 2004. They also spoke with representatives of Muslim organizations in Germany.
The study showed that after Sept. 11 2001 -- the day of terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. -- German parliamentarians have been increasingly equating Islam with terrorism rather than advocating religious tolerance.
While the image of Islam in Germany has been partially hijacked by extremists and terrorists, the study found fewer indications that Germans were rejecting Muslims in general.
Faruk Sen is the director of the Center for Turkish Studies in Essen
According to Faruk Sen, who heads the Center for Turkish Studies, politicians are responsible for making sure that German Muslims do not suffer from being associated with terrorism.
"We expect from politicians not to present Islam in Germany as predominantly a security problem and not to stamp it as being terrorist," Sen said.
According to the study, some 3.5 million Moslems in Germany feel pressured to justify themselves on account of their religion.
The study also showed that following Sept. 11, 2001 the media concentrated more on terrorist threats as well as topics related to the exclusion of Moslems. At the same time, however, there was less talk about general incompatibility between the West and the Islamic world.