New study about Muslims in Germany

The Bertelsmann Foundation recently published a new study about Islam in Germany1. It is based on a sample of 322 German Muslims, 200 of which were Sunni. Among other things, it attempts to quantify the intensity of their religious practice (by measuring the degree to which religion is central to their lives; called centrality index in that study). The following chart shows the results by age group:

Percent of Sunni Muslims in Germany that are highly religious, by age group

Note that since the sample size is small (200), the error margin on these percentages is probably large. Unfortunately the study doesn’t quantify that error margin. Nevertheless it provides a statistically significant indication that among the Sunni Muslims in Germany, the intensity of religious practice decreases with age. This is in stark contrast with the finding from another study, that in the general population (including in Muslim countries) the number of highly religious young adults under 29 years of age is lower than in the 30–45 age group and lower still than in the age group over 452:

Centrality of religion by age groups

It is important not to confuse “highly religious” with fundamentalist or radical (although it’s reasonable to assume that there is a correlation between the two). E.g. the study shows that even among highly religious Sunni Muslims, the support for gay marriage is still at 40% (which is not something you would expect from fundamentalists/radicals):

Support for gay marriage among Sunni Muslims in Germany, by degree of religiosity

Still it is worrisome to see that while religiosity is in decline in general, there is an opposite trend in Muslim minority populations.