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Most German Muslims don't wear headscarves, says report on integration

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Muslim Germans are more German than expected.

The first representative study of Muslim life in Germany paints a portrait of a minority that is much more integrated, multifaceted, and secular than previously thought. The Nuremberg-based Federal Office of Migration surveyed 6,004 people age 16 and above by telephone. Based on data provided about other household members, the study evaluated almost 17,000 people and was released in June 2009.

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Some findings: Half of Germany’s 4.3 million Muslims do quintessentially German things, such as join in soccer clubs or senior citizens’ groups. Only 4 percent belong to associations rooted in home countries. Most say they are religious, but 70 percent of women never wear a head scarf, 90 percent of girls go on school trips, and 93 percent attend swimming lessons. Integration into German society is helped through new pilot projects that offer Islam courses in public schools, in addition to already established classes on Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. (Read more here.)

Despite the progress, the study also found that residents of Turkish descent rank disproportionately high in dropout and jobless rates.