(QHA) - Following the suit of Bremen and Hamburg, the government of Lower Saxony in Germany has recognized Islam as an official religion in the district, confirming that Muslims were a key part in the society, reports ABNA. “A mutual skepticism occurred in the past and our government wishes to show its respect to the Muslims with this contract,” Lower Saxony Prime Minister Stephen Weil told Anadolu Agency. Weil was speaking during the meeting at which Weil convened the representatives of Islamic institutions at the provincial guest-house to initiate the talks to accept Islam as an official religion. Signing the contract to recognize Islam was an initial step which needed further discussions to allow Muslims a wider recognition in the European country. Last January, three German states, namely Bremen Hamburg and Hesse, recognized Islamic organizations as official religious bodies. Under a similar contract, Muslim holidays as `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha were recognized as official vacations. As reported, Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.