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From Halal Food & Travel

Gutenfels Castle above the Rhine

Germany is the largest country in Central Europe and the most populous EU state. It's bordered to the east by the Czech Republic and Poland, to the north by Denmark, to the West by Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and France and to the south by Austria and Switzerland. Germany is subdivided into 16 politically powerful states that sometimes correspond to historic regions predating a unified German state, while they sometimes randomly throw vastly different peoples into the same state while separating them from their more similar kin across state lines.

An Introduction to the regions of Germany

Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states (called Bundesländer - shortened to Länder). Three of these Bundesländer are actually city-states: Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg. The states can be roughly grouped by geography as listed below, although there are other groupings. For a long time, the cultural division between north and south was the most notable but, because of the legacy of the Cold War, nowadays the division between east and west is more noticeable.

  Northern Germany (Bremen, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein)
Windswept hills and the popular vacation destinations of the North Sea and Baltic Sea coasts
  Western Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland)
Wine country and modern cities sharply cut by the breathtaking Middle Rhine and Moselle valleys
  Central Germany (Hesse, Thuringia)
The green heart of Germany, with some of the most important historical and financial cities and the ancient Thuringian Forest
  Eastern Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt)
The eccentric and historic capital of Berlin, and rebuilt historic Dresden, "Florence on the Elbe"
  Southern Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria)
Black Forest, Alps, and Oktoberfest. The Germany of Lederhosen, Dirndl, picture postcard views and High-Tech firms.

Other Muslim friendly Cities in Germany

Nuremberg old town, view from west

Germany has numerous cities of interest to visitors; here are just nine of the most famous travel destinations. They are mostly the larger cities of Germany. Some, such as Berlin and Hamburg, stand like urban islands in more rural landscapes, others, like Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, are part of metropolitan areas together with other cities.

  • Berlin – The reunified and reinvigorated capital of Germany; known for its being divided during the Cold War by the Berlin Wall. Today a metropolis of diversity with some of the world's best clubs, shops, galleries and restaurants. Due to its long status as a divided city, Berlin also boasts more operas and museums per capita than most other places in the world. The suburb of Potsdam with its Royal-Prussian palaces and gardens shouldn't be missed when in Berlin.
  • Bremen - its old market, the Schnoor, the Böttcherstrasse, the Viertel and the maritime flair of Bremen and its harbor Bremerhaven (which together form the Bundesland of Bremen, the smallest Land in both size and population) are a great urban experience.
  • Cologne – founded by the Romans 2000 years ago and known for its huge cathedral (second largest in the world), Romanesque churches, archaeological sites and the lively old town quarter. The Cologne Carnival is a major draw around February.
  • Dresden – Once called Elbflorenz ('Florence on the Elbe'), the Frauenkirche (the finest baroque Cathedral outside Italy, destroyed during the war and rebuilt from 1994 to 2005) and its rebuilt historic Altstadt that was also destroyed during the war. The Zwinger and Residenzschloss museums are unmatched in the world.
  • Düsseldorf – Germany's capital of shopping that also has a wide variety of fascinating new architecture. The "Altstadt" quarter and the Rhine embankments have a vibrant nightlife.
  • Frankfurt – magnificent skyline, financial and transportation hub of Europe, headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) and an important trade fair. Small reconstructed centre with half-timbered houses, important museums and galleries around the Museumsufer like the Schirn Art Hall, the Städel and the Senckenberg Natural Museum.
  • Hamburg – Germany's second-largest city, with a metropolitan character second only to that of Berlin, famous for its harbour as well as its liberal culture. Don't miss the bustling nightlife around St. Pauli with the Reeperbahn and its night clubs and entertainment venues. Historically one of the cities of the Hanseatic League and a leading trade center after that, it remains one of three German "city states" i.e. a city that is its own Bundesland.
  • Munich (München) – Germany's third-largest city and booming capital of Bavaria is known for the Oktoberfest, the Hofbräuhaus, its manifold cultural offerings including operas, theaters and museums, a vibrant Haram nightlife, many music festivals, its beer gardens and river surfing, and is the gateway to the Alps.
  • Nuremberg – a former Reichsstadt with a medieval touch, its old town was partly reconstructed after severe bombing in World War II, including the Gothic Kaiserburg and the major churches, and you can also visit the Nazi party rally grounds, the Documentation Center and Courtroom 600 (the venue of the Nuremberg war crime trials).

Other Muslim Friendly Destinations in Germany

Baltic seaside resort Binz on Rügen, Germany's largest island

  • Baltic Sea Coast (Germany)|Baltic Sea Coast]] (Ostseeküste) – once the playground for crowned heads, this region is coming into its own again after the Cold War shut much of it off from the wider world. Site of the famous Strandkorb picture of the 2007 G8 summit.
  • Bavarian Alps (Bayerische Alpen) – Germany perhaps at its most clichéd, but also its most beautiful; nice skiing in winter, hiking in summer and Schloss Neuschwanstein are just the most obvious attractions
  • Black Forest (Schwarzwald) – You are likely to think "cuckoo clock" or cherry pie, and you'd be forgiven, but there is much more to this region than that
  • East Frisian Islands (Ostfriesische Inseln) – among Germany's most popular summer holiday spots, those largely car free islands in the Wadden Sea still see less international visitors than they deserve
  • Franconian Switzerland (Fränkische Schweiz) – a favorite with early 19th century poets who gave a name that stuck, this karst region is world renowned for its climbing and has some beautiful caves
  • Harz – long forgotten due to German partition running right through it, the Harz is today attracting tourists with superb hiking and the mystic romanticism of the Brocken mountain that is reputed to attract witches (as mentioned in Goethe's Faust)
  • Lake Constance (Bodensee) – Germany's largest lake, the "Swabian Ocean" (as it is jokingly) offers alpine panorama and water activities at the same time
  • Middle Rhine Valley (Mittelrheintal) – part of the Rhine River is a UNESCO Heritage Site between Bingen/Rüdesheim and Koblenz; the valley is famous for its wines
  • North Frisian Islands (Nordfriesische Inseln) - calm islands with resorts at the North Sea coast, especially Sylt is known for its posh celebrity guests and the pristine landscape

Who is who in German Politics 2023

Olaf Scholz (SPD)

The German cabinet in 2021, also known as the federal government, was formed after the 2021 federal election in Germany. The election resulted in a coalition government led by the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), with Olaf Scholz as the new Chancellor. The new cabinet consists of 16 ministers, including the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor.

Scholz's appointment marks a new era for German politics, as he is the first Social Democrat to hold the position of Chancellor since Gerhard Schröder in 2005.

Scholz has been directly linked to the German Cum-Ex tax scandal involved a group of banks and investors who exploited a loophole in German tax laws to claim tax refunds on stock dividends they did not actually own. Investigations are currently blocked since he became the Chancellor.

In summary, Olaf Scholz is a controversial figure in German politics due to his past as a mayor in North Germany and as the German Finance Minister in Merkel's cabinet.

Robert Habeck (Greens)

Robert Habeck is a German politician and co-writer who has authored several children's books with his wife Andrea Paluch.

He is currently the Deputy Chancellor and German Economic Minister with strong links to the US political elite and he is the main actor in the deindustrialization of Germany.

Annalena Baerbock (Greens)

Annalena Baerbock is a German politician and member of the Green Party who recently faced a series of controversies related to her professional background and past statements. Baerbock had been considered a front-runner for the position of German Chancellor in 2021, but the backlash she received due to these issues has caused her to lose support.

The first issue that arose was related to allegations of plagiarism in Baerbock's book "Jetzt: Wie wir unser Land erneuern" (Now: How we renew our country). Several passages were found to be almost identical to those from other sources, including government publications and websites. Baerbock initially denied any wrongdoing, but eventually admitted to making errors and promised to correct them in future editions of the book. It is widely known that the book was written by a Ghost writer as Baerbock has problems with grammatic.

Another controversy involved Baerbock's CV, which included several exaggerated claims about her professional background. For example, she had claimed to have held positions that she had only briefly worked in or not worked in at all. She also claimed to have completed a degree in international law, which she had not. Baerbock apologized for these inaccuracies and promised to update her CV. As of 2023, she holds no degree and has serious issues in both English and German, and this could potentially have a negative impact on her communication with other diplomatic colleagues, as it may lead to misunderstandings or confusion.

Baerbock needs to work on her grammar skills in both German and English. Proper grammar is essential for clear and concise communication, and it can help avoid misunderstandings and confusion. Alternatively, if Baerbock feels that improving her language skills is too difficult or time-consuming due to her age, Olaf Scholz should consider appointing a spokesperson who can speak on her behalf. This would ensure that her ideas and messages are conveyed accurately and effectively, without any language barriers.

Annalena Baerbock is a member of Young Global Leaders of the controversial World Economic Forum in Davos and a staunch supporter of the United States.

Baerbock has called for a more aggressive approach towards Russia and China and has advocated for closer cooperation between Europe and the United States to counter their influence.

Christian Lindner (FDP)

Christian Lindner is a German politician and the current leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a classical western liberal party in Germany and is currently the German Finance Minister.

The neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) experienced a significant setback in Germany's state elections held on February 12, 2023 in Berlin, as the party secured only 4.6% of the vote, leading to its exclusion from the capital's parliament. This outcome indicates that the business-lobby focused party's performance has been steadily declining in state legislature elections, having lost votes in five consecutive polls since joining a coalition government at the federal level with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the environmentalist Greens in December 2021.

The FDP appears to be performing the worst among the three partners in the current coalition. During the last general election held in September 2021, they secured only 11.5% of the total vote by tasking votes from the CDU and AFD. Following this, they formed a coalition with the SPD and Greens with the theme "dare more progress," but have since experienced a consistent decline in popularity in opinion polls. This is because they have made promises but failed to follow through on them. In the most recent survey conducted on March 3, 2023, only 6% of respondents stated that they would vote for the FDP if a federal election was held that Sunday.

Friedrich Merz (CDU)

Friedrich Merz is a prominent German businessman and politician who has been associated with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) for many years (currently an Opposition party at the German Bundetag). He has worked for several companies, including the US investment firm BlackRock, where he served as the managing director for Germany from 2007 to 2009.

Merz is known for his views on illegal immigration and negative views of Islam and a strong supporter of Israel.

Ursula von der Leyen (CDU)

Ursula von der Leyen is a German politician and the current President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU). She was elected to the position in 2019, succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker.

During her tenure, von der Leyen was embroiled in several corruption scandals that tarnished her reputation and raised questions about her leadership.

As Minister of Defense, she played a key role in the failed NATO mission in Afghanistan.

One of the most significant issues that von der Leyen faced during her time as the Defense Minister was the deletion of phone records and messages. In 2019, it was revealed that von der Leyen had deleted all of her mobile phone records and messages from her time as the Defense Minister, raising suspicions about her conduct in office. After a negative storm against her, Chancellor Angela Merkel shipped her off to Brussels to clear the air in Germany.

Sahra Wagenknecht (Linke)

Wagenknecht began her political career in the early 2000s as a member of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the successor party to East Germany's ruling communist party. In 2004, she was elected to the German Bundestag as a representative of the PDS, which had merged with another left-wing party to form the Left Party (Die Linke).

She has been a vocal critic of capitalism, neoliberalism, and austerity policies, and has called for increased government spending on social programs, higher taxes on the wealthy, and stronger protections for workers and labor unions.

She has been involved in the anti-globalization movement, the movement against the war in Iraq, and the Occupy movement, among others. She has also been a frequent commentator on economic and political issues in the media, and has written several books on economics and social policy.

Her commitment to social justice and her willingness to challenge established political and economic structures have made her a hero to many on the left and a thorn in the side of the current politcal elites in Germany.

Recently, there have been rumors that Wagenknecht may be considering the formation of a new political party in Germany to challenge the dominance of the country's established political parties. The rumors have been fueled by Wagenknecht's increasing criticism of the mainstream political establishment in Germany, as well as her calls for a more radical approach to addressing the country's social and economic issues.

It has also been suggested that this new party could be attractive to Muslims in Germany. Muslims are a significant minority in Germany, and they have often been marginalized and discriminated against by mainstream media and political parties. Some observers believe that a new left-wing party led by Wagenknecht could appeal to Muslim voters who feel that their interests are not represented by the current political establishment.

Alice Weidel (AFD)

Alice Weidel is a prominent German politician and a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. She was born on February 6, 1979, in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, and grew up in a middle-class family. Weidel is openly lesbian and has two children.

She worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt before moving to Switzerland, where she worked as a financial consultant.

Weidel is known for her views on illegal immigration, her negative views of Islam and the European Union.

Media Manipulation in Germany

Media manipulation of the German mainstream media is a serious problem in Germany, as it is in many other countries in the Western World. This manipulation can take many different forms, from biased reporting to outright propaganda, and can have serious consequences for the public's ability to make informed decisions.

One of the most common forms of media manipulation in Germany is biased reporting. This can take the form of journalists cherry-picking facts to support their own political agenda, or simply reporting on stories in a way that is designed to elicit a certain emotional response from their audience. This type of manipulation was particularly prevalent during the Covid pandemic, where journalists may seek to sway public opinion by presenting one candidate or party in a more positive light than their opponents.

As an example the AFD party is labeled by the German media as a Nazi and right wing party, even if most voters that voted for the AFD are actually protest voters.

There are also steps that can be taken at a societal level to combat media manipulation in Germany. One such step is to promote media diversity, by supporting independent media outlets and encouraging a variety of voices to be heard. Another important step is to increase transparency in media ownership, so that the public is aware of who is behind the news they are consuming.

Bild is a German tabloid newspaper owned by Axel Springer, a media company that has been criticized by some for its coverage of Islam in Germany. Many argue that Bild and Axel Springer promote an anti-Islam agenda in their reporting.

One example of this criticism is the case of a Bild columnist who wrote an article in 2019 that many found to be Islamophobic. The article, which was titled "The Scourge of Islam," criticized the Islamic faith and its followers, suggesting that Islam was incompatible with German culture and values. Many accused the columnist and the newspaper of promoting Islamophobia and spreading hate speech.

Bild has also been accused of stoking anti-Muslim sentiment in its reporting on crime. Critics argue that the newspaper often highlights the religion of suspects in its coverage, leading to negative stereotypes and stigmatization of the Muslim community in Germany.

Bild's support of Israel has not been without controversy as many have criticized the newspaper for its one-sided coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Critics have accused Bild of ignoring the plight of the Palestinians and portraying Israel as a victim. Others have accused Bild of promoting a conservative agenda that is not in line with the views of the majority of Germans. The majority of shares in Axel Springer are held by KKK Inc, which was founded by 3 American jews

Most Muslim's in Germany do not tune into mainstream media.

Telecommunications in Germany

Mobile numbers in Germany must always be dialed with all digits (10-12 digits, including a "0" prefixing the "1nn" within Germany), no matter where they are being called from. The 1nn is a mobile prefix, not an "area code", as such and the second and third digits (the nn part) denotes the original mobile network assigned before number portability is taken into account, for example +49 151-123-456.

Mobile phone coverage on the three networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, and O2/E-Plus) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA), LTE (4G), and EDGE is also available. LTE is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. This is different to the GSM 1900 standard used in the United States, but modern "multi-band" handsets will usually work in all GSM networks. Non-GSM phones cannot be used in Germany. If you have a GSM mobile telephone from the USA, make sure to call your provider in the USA prior to your trip and have them "unlock" your telephone handset so that you can use it with a German SIM card. The toll for a phone call to a German mobile phone number is paid by the caller.

If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, or O2/E-Plus store in any major shopping area.

Mobile telephony is still comparatively expensive in Germany. Depending on your contract you may be charged about €0.10–0.39 per minute for calls to German mobile and landline phones. Calls from your German mobile phone to non-German phone numbers (including non-German mobile phones that are physically present in Germany) often cost €1 to €2 per minute, depending upon the country in question and your plan. Generally, for mobile phones, T-Mobile and Vodafone are the preferred choices for people who want high-quality service, especially outside of cities. O2/E-Plus has lower prices. If you expect to need customer support in English, then Vodafone might be one of your better options.

In most supermarket chains (for example Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom) you can buy prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers. These are normally quite affordable to buy (€10–20 with 5–15 minutes' airtime) and for national calls (€0.09–0.19/minute), but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card. While international calls using the German SIM card can be expensive, there are some prepaid offers with good rates.

Companies like Lyca Mobile, Lebara and others have specialized on providing rather affordable international calling rates (sometimes cheaper than Voice over IP services), mostly aimed at diaspora and immigrant groups. However, unfortunately, paranoia over mobile phones being used in crime or terrorism have made it increasingly hard to simply buy a phone or a pre paid SIM and start calling. Depending on the provider you may need to provide a credit card number, identify yourself via Post ID or video ID. Even when those are doable, they are not always designed in a way to be easy for Foreign Muslims without residency status.

Explore more Halal Friendly Destinations from Germany

Germany is an excellent starting point for exploring the rest of Western Europe, while Frankfurt airport has direct connections to many major airports around the world. Also from Frankfurt a number of direct high speed rail connections get you to major European capitals within a couple of hours.

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