Germany's interior minister on Tuesday admitted that there is an Islamophobia problem in the country and pledged stronger measures to combat it, as threats and hate crimes against Muslims have spiked in recent months.
"In Germany, almost every second person agrees with Islamophobic statements, and I am saying this clearly, we also have an Islamophobia problem in Germany," Nancy Faeser said at the German Islam Conference.
Addressing representatives of the Muslim communities and migrant organizations, Faeser said the government is aware of the problem, and they are examining recommendations of the experts to take new measures.
"For many Muslims in Germany, the threat of becoming victim of anti-Muslim attack has become an everyday reality. This has a catastrophic impact on people's sense of security, we cannot accept this," the Social Democrat politician said.
"All people in Germany have the right to live in security and enjoy democratic freedoms, which means that we will show zero tolerance for hostility towards Muslims, right-wing extremism, antisemitism, racism and other forms of misanthropy," she added.
Germany's Muslim communities reported a surge in Islamophobic hate crimes since the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict last month, triggered by biased media coverage of the recent developments, and propaganda by far-right politicians.
With a population of over 84 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country's nearly 5.3 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.
Faeser warned against biases and negative generalizations against Muslims and stressed that the vast majority from that demographic were well-integrated, and embraced democratic values.
"They were just as shocked as we are by the images of Hamas's violence," she said.
Faeser also urged Muslim associations to make stronger efforts to fight antisemitism.
"We have to combat antisemitism together. Some mosque associations are already involved. I would like to thank everyone for their work," she said.
"But, I also appeal to the large Islamic associations to make visible steps in the fight against antisemitism," she added.