Four leading Muslim groups in Germany have formed an umbrella organization aimed at speaking with one voice in the community's dealings with the government. 

The new group, the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany, is to represent the interests of more than 3 million Muslims living in the country.

It will combine the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, the Association of Islamic Culture Centers, the Islamic Council and the Central Council of Muslims.

Rafet Ozturk of the Turkish-Islamic Union says the groups will remain independent, but will seek common positions on matters such as integration and extremism.

A German Interior Ministry spokesman Wednesday welcomed the creation of the council.  But the French News Agency notes that the four groups represent only a fraction of Germany's Muslim community.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.