Members of LEGIDA, the Leipzig arm of the anti-Islam movement Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (PEGIDA), hold a poster depicting German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a rally in Leipzig, Germany January 11, 2016.     REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

Does Islam Belong to Germany?

“Islam is a political ideology that is not compatible with the German Constitution.”

Nearly two-thirds of Germans believe that Islam does not belong to Germany, according to a recent opinion poll, which also found that only 22% of Germans consider Islam to be an integral part of German society.

In a similar poll conducted in January 2015, 37% of Germans said that Islam belongs to Germany, 15% more than now. The results indicate that German attitudes toward Islam are hardening after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow more than 1.1 million mostly Muslim migrants to enter Germany in 2015.

The poll has opened yet another chapter in the decade-long debate over the phrase, “Islam belongs to Germany.” The words were first uttered in September 2006 — at the time there were 3.5 million Muslims in Germany, compared to nearly six million today — by then Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.