Germany Confronts the Failure of Multiculturalism

Germany Confronts the Failure of Multiculturalism

Posted By Jacob Laksin On October 22, 2010 @ 12:24 am In FrontPage

German Chancellor Angela Merkel ignited a political firestorm this past weekend when she pronounced [1] German multiculturalism a failure.

Addressing a youth delegation of her Christian Democratic Union Party, Merkel observed that in light of the widespread failure of immigrants, particularly Muslims, to integrate – whether by learning the German language or by adopting German cultural and legal norms – the country could have no illusions about the success of its so-called multikulti policies in assimilating immigrants.

“We kidded ourselves a while, we said: ‘They won’t stay, sometime they will be gone’, but this isn’t reality. And of course, the approach [to build] a multicultural [society] and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other… has failed, utterly failed.”

Merkel added that the only solution was for immigrants to learn the language and to integrate into the dominant German culture.

As any mention of the untouchable issue of immigration tends do, Merkel’s comments elicited furious condemnation from the German and Left. The left-wing Tageszeitung dismissed her remarks as populist posturing. The Financial Times Deutschland insisted that such rhetoric “cannot be excused.” Still other critics charged that Merkel was stoking “xenophobia.”

Yet the most notable aspect of Merkel’s remarks is just how unremarkable they were. Indeed, the most compelling criticism of her public renunciation of multiculturalism is that it has come too late in Germany’s immigrant crisis.

That crisis dates back to the 1950s. At the time, vast numbers of foreign guest workers, or Gastarbeiter, were required to make up for the post-war labor shortage. In the years that followed, these migrant laborers were needed to fuel the country’s booming industrial economy.

If many of the contemporary problems of immigration and integration were not anticipated, one reason is that it was assumed these workers would return to their countries of origin. Initially, many did just that. Over time, however, fewer and fewer returned. Temporary guests became permanent ones, with the consequence that Germany is now home to some 16 million foreign workers out of its population of 82 million.

Not all of these foreign workers have failed to integrate into German society. Whether Russian or Chinese [2], many have learned German, found jobs, and become productive members of society even as they’ve retained the traditions and language of their native culture. An important exception, however, is Germany’s Turkish community, which at 2.5 million also happens to be the country’s largest ethnic minority. That community is also at the heart of many of Germany’s social, and increasingly, security problems. When Merkel talks about the utter failure of multiculturalism, this is what she has in mind.

The failure of German Turks to assimilate is a well-documented phenomenon. A 2009 study by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development found that even after 50 years and three generation in the country, Turks remained a people apart. They reside in what Germans have come to call “parallel communities,” a diplomatic term for what are in effect ethnic ghettos shunted off from mainstream German society. This exclusion exacts a heavy toll on new generations, many of whom do not know the native language. Reports of primary school classes where 80 percent of children cannot speak German are testimony to the seriousness of the problem.

Religion would seem to be one of the underlying reasons for the Turks’ persistent outsider status. Turks make up the majority of Germany’s 4 million Muslim residents, and despite the secular reputation of 20th century Turkey, there is abundant evidence that their brand of Islam has been in tension with German culture and society.

That is most evident in the contrasting levels of religious commitment. While Germany has followed the European trend toward secularization, its Turkish immigrants remain fervently religious. A 2006 study by the Essen Center for Turkish Studies found that 83 percent of Muslims of Turkish-origins described themselves as religious or strictly religious. And while German leaders have long toed the politically correct line that Islam is fully compatible with German ways – even the blunt-speaking Merkel has paid repeated lip service to the pluralistic cliché that Islam is a “part of Germany” – Turkish Muslims seem to disagree. Not only do nearly half of German Turks say that Islamic laws are incompatible with German society, but many live that way. Forced marriages and “honor” killings are two of the more prominent examples of Islamic practices clashing with German laws and culture. Even in death, many Muslim immigrants spurn integration. By some estimates [3], as many as 80 percent of Muslims have their bodies sent to their home countries so as to avoid a non-Muslim burial on German soil.

More and more, that clash of civilizations underlies a security concern in Germany. This August, German authorities finally shuttered the city’s Taiba mosque, a nursery of jihadist terror whose alumni included September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta [4]. Just this week, German federal prosecutors arrested [5] 8 men, including a Turkish national, on charges of supporting al-Qaeda and spreading terrorist propaganda on the internet. Previous crackdowns on German-based jihadist groups have also netted Turkish Islamists. As a result, Germany is now on the international radar as a major base for jihadist terror. When the U.S. recently issued a travel alert for Europe, it specifically cited Islamists originating in Germany.

With the costs of multiculturalism’s failure so plain to see, it’s not surprising that many Germans are anxious about where mass immigration has led them. Merkel’s recent comments are only the latest crack in the politically correct “consensus” surrounding the taboo subject. In August, Thilo Sarrazin, a senior official at Germany’s central bank, published a book about the dangers of Muslim immigration whose theme was summed up in its provocative title: Germany Does Itself In. Sarrazin was forced to resign his position amid press furor, but his book continues to top Germany’s best-seller lists – a good indication of where the public’s sympathies lie. Another measure of the national doubts about the wisdom off immigration comes from a recent study, which found that one-third of Germans feel the country is being “over-run by foreigners,” while nearly 60 percent feel that Muslim religious practices should be “significantly curbed.” Elite opinion remains hostile to open discussion of immigration, especially Muslim immigration, but a growing segment of German popular opinion plainly feels that it represents a legitimate worry.

While this concern is encouraging, mirroring as it does Europe’s broader awakening to the issues of immigration and Islamic extremism, it is not altogether a heartening phenomenon.  For one thing, the growing alarm about the problem of Muslim integration coexists with a revived anti-Semitism. The same study that found Germans supporting restrictions on certain Islamic practices also found that 17 percent think Jews “have too much influence.” Another problem is that while it is becoming more acceptable to point out the failures of multiculturalism, no serious solution has been offered. Modest attempts at assimilation, such as language classes, are unlikely to overcome entrenched cultural and religious divides.

That will become an even bigger problem for Germany in the decades ahead. At 1.36 children per woman, Germans have one of the lowest fertility rates not only in Europe but in recorded history. Statistics on Germany’s Turkish community are sparse, but there is a consensus that comparatively they have many more children. If those trends hold, Germany likely will look very different in the not-so-distant future. Acknowledging that multiculturalism has failed may be a necessary first step to coping with the consequences of Islamic immigration. But it will not save Germany from that looming demographic predicament.

The Islamization of Europe: Vicar Sacrifices Himself. Others Sacrifice Others

The Islamization of Europe: Vicar Sacrifices Himself. Others Sacrifice Others

Created 2006-11-02 02:58

On Tuesday a Lutheran vicar set himself alight in the German town of Erfurt. The 73 year old Roland Weisselberg poured gasoline over himself and set fire to himself in the Erfurt monastery, where Martin Luther took his monastic vows in 1505. Tuesday was a national holiday in parts of Germany to celebrate the Protestant Reformation. Bystanders rushed to extinguish the flames. Weisselberg later died of his injuries.

In a farewell letter to his wife the vicar wrote that he was setting himself on fire to warn against the danger of the Islamization of Europe. During the past four years the vicar had frequently expressed his concern about the expansion of Islam, urging the Lutheran Church to take this issue seriously. As the fire started the vicar cried: “Jesus and Oskar!” Oskar Brüsewitz was a 47-year old German vicar who died after setting himself on fire 30 years ago, on 18 August 1976, in the market square of the German town of Zeitz in protest against the Communist regime in East Germany. Both Erfurt and Zeitz are situated in the former East German province of Saxony.

Axel Noack, the Lutheran Bishop of Saxony, said he is shocked by the tragic event in Erfurt. Bishop Noack emphasized that the motive for the suicide complicates matters. He said he hopes that the affair and the question of how Christians should relate to Muslims will not lead to unrest. The Bishop emphasized that Christians reject a culture war. “Fear of other cultures is the result of our own insecurity,” he said, adding that since there are not many Muslims in what was once East Germany, there is not much of a debate about Islam there.

Another famous case of self-immolation in Europe was that of Jan Palach, a Czech student who sacrificed his life in Prague in 1969 to protest the Communist occupation of his country.

While some set themself alight others in contemporary Europe sacrifice others. Last Saturday Mama Galledou, a 26-year old Senegalese medical student, suffered severe burns in an arson attack by Muslim thugs, a.k.a. “youths,” on a public transport bus in the French city of Marseille. Muslim thugs have torched eight buses in France during the past days. They hijack the vehicles and empty jerrycans of gasoline into them. Sometimes they allow the passengers to get off first, sometimes they do not.


Source URL:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1625

The Islamization of Europe: Vicar Sacrifices Himself. Others Sacrifice Others

The Islamization of Europe: Vicar Sacrifices Himself. Others Sacrifice Others

Created 2006-11-02 02:58

On Tuesday a Lutheran vicar set himself alight in the German town of Erfurt. The 73 year old Roland Weisselberg poured gasoline over himself and set fire to himself in the Erfurt monastery, where Martin Luther took his monastic vows in 1505. Tuesday was a national holiday in parts of Germany to celebrate the Protestant Reformation. Bystanders rushed to extinguish the flames. Weisselberg later died of his injuries.

In a farewell letter to his wife the vicar wrote that he was setting himself on fire to warn against the danger of the Islamization of Europe. During the past four years the vicar had frequently expressed his concern about the expansion of Islam, urging the Lutheran Church to take this issue seriously. As the fire started the vicar cried: “Jesus and Oskar!” Oskar Brüsewitz was a 47-year old German vicar who died after setting himself on fire 30 years ago, on 18 August 1976, in the market square of the German town of Zeitz in protest against the Communist regime in East Germany. Both Erfurt and Zeitz are situated in the former East German province of Saxony.

Axel Noack, the Lutheran Bishop of Saxony, said he is shocked by the tragic event in Erfurt. Bishop Noack emphasized that the motive for the suicide complicates matters. He said he hopes that the affair and the question of how Christians should relate to Muslims will not lead to unrest. The Bishop emphasized that Christians reject a culture war. “Fear of other cultures is the result of our own insecurity,” he said, adding that since there are not many Muslims in what was once East Germany, there is not much of a debate about Islam there.

Another famous case of self-immolation in Europe was that of Jan Palach, a Czech student who sacrificed his life in Prague in 1969 to protest the Communist occupation of his country.

While some set themself alight others in contemporary Europe sacrifice others. Last Saturday Mama Galledou, a 26-year old Senegalese medical student, suffered severe burns in an arson attack by Muslim thugs, a.k.a. “youths,” on a public transport bus in the French city of Marseille. Muslim thugs have torched eight buses in France during the past days. They hijack the vehicles and empty jerrycans of gasoline into them. Sometimes they allow the passengers to get off first, sometimes they do not.


Source URL:
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1625

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East — The most frightening aspect of the present war is how easily our premodern enemies from the Middle East have brought a stunned postmodern world back into the Dark Ages.

Dark Ages, Live from the Middle East
By Victor Davis Hanson
The Washington Times | October 30, 2006

The most frightening aspect of the present war is how easily our premodern enemies from the Middle East have brought a stunned postmodern world back into the Dark Ages.Students of history are sickened when they read of the long-ago, gruesome practice of beheading. How brutal were those societies that chopped off the heads of Cicero, Sir Thomas More and Marie Antoinette. And how lucky we thought we were to have evolved from such elemental barbarity.

Twenty-four hundred years ago, Socrates was executed for unpopular speech. The 18th-century European Enlightenment gave people freedom to express views formerly censored by clerics and the state. Just imagine what life was like once upon a time when no one could write music, compose fiction or paint without court or church approval?

Over 400 years before the birth of Christ, ancient Greek literary characters, from Lysistrata to Antigone, reflected the struggle for sexual equality. The subsequent notion that women could vote, divorce, dress or marry as they pleased was a millennia-long struggle.

It is almost surreal now to read about the elemental hatred of Jews in the Spanish Inquisition, 19th-century Russian pogroms or the Holocaust. Yet here we are revisiting the old horrors of the savage past.

Beheading? As we saw with Nick Berg and Daniel Pearl, our Neanderthal enemies in the Middle East have resurrected that ancient barbarity — and married it with 21st-century technology to beam the resulting gore instantaneously onto our computer screens. Xerxes and Attila, who stuck their victims’ heads on poles for public display, would’ve been thrilled by such a gruesome show.

Who would have thought centuries after the Enlightenment that sophisticated Europeans — in fear of radical Islamists — would be afraid to write a novel, put on an opera, draw a cartoon, film a documentary or have their pope discuss comparative theology?

The astonishing fact is not just that millions of women worldwide in 2006 are still veiled from head-to-toe, trapped in arranged marriages, subject to polygamy, honor killings and forced circumcision, or lack the right to vote or appear alone in public. What is more baffling is that in the West, liberal Europeans are often wary of protecting female citizens from the excesses of Shariah law — sometimes even fearful of asking women to unveil their faces for purposes of simple identification and official conversation.

Who these days is shocked that Israel is hated by Arab nations and threatened with annihilation by radical Iran? Instead, the surprise is that even in places like Paris or Seattle, Jews are singled out and killed for the apparent crime of being Jewish.

Since September 11, 2001, the West has fought enemies who are determined to bring back the nightmarish world we thought was long past. And there are lessons Westerners can learn from radical Islamists’ ghastly efforts.

• First, the Western liberal tradition is fragile and can still disappear. Just because we have sophisticated cell phones, CAT scanners and jets does not ensure we are permanently civilized or safe. Technology used by the civilized for positive purposes can easily be manipulated by barbarians for destruction.

• Second, the Enlightenment is not always lost on the battlefield. It can be surrendered through either fear or indifference as well. Westerners fearful of terrorist reprisals themselves shut down a production of a Mozart opera in Berlin deemed offensive to Muslims. Few came to the aid of a Salman Rushdie or Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh when their unpopular expression earned death threats from Islamists. Van Gogh, of course, was ultimately killed.

The Goths and Vandals did not sack Rome solely through the power of their hordes; they also relied on the paralysis of Roman elites who no longer knew what it was to be Roman — much less whether it was any better than the alternative.

• Third, civilization is forfeited with a whimper, not a bang. Insidiously, we have allowed radical Islamists to redefine the primordial into the not-so-bad. Perhaps women in head-to-toe burkas in Europe prefer them? Maybe that crass German opera was just too over the top after all? Aren’t both parties equally to blame in the Palestinian, Iraqi and Afghan wars?

To grasp the flavor of our own Civil War, impersonators now don period dress and reconstruct the battles of Shiloh or Gettysburg. But we need no so such historical re-enactment of the Dark Ages. You see, they are back with us — live almost daily from the Middle East.

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61% surveyed believe Islamic extremists are targeting nation — Manfred Murck, a top official of the agency in Hamburg, recently said that 30 of Hamburg’s 100 mosques are being monitored for “suspicious activity,” including the Al-Khuds mosque where Mohammed Atta and his Hamburg cell met daily before the Sept. 11 attacks. These mosques serve as meeting places for “clandestine agencies for Islamic extremist networks,” Murck said.

Germans feel the clutch of terrorist threat
61% surveyed believe Islamic extremists are targeting nation

- Eric Geiger, Chronicle Foreign Service
Thursday, October 26, 2006 (10-26) 04:00 PST Munich, Germany — Early this month, Ibrahim R, an Iraqi who has lived in Germany since 1996, became the first person to be arrested for allegedly disseminating propaganda over the Internet for a foreign terrorist group.

The 36-year-old immigrant posted videos and tape recordings of Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri threatening the West in an online chat room. German officials have pledged to monitor more Islamic Web sites and make more arrests.

In years past, the harsh response by officials in Lower Saxony state might have spurred criticism of state violation of privacy laws. But many Germans no longer see the war on terror as a British-American problem over Iraq.

“The case of that Iraqi suspect just proves we are not living in a safe island anymore,” said Heinz Bruckmoser, a retired mechanical engineer from Duesseldorf. “It ties in with that failed train attack.”

In July, Islamic extremists tried but failed to blow up two trains in northern Germany. If successful, they could have killed hundreds of people. The plot not only triggered a heated debate on national security but also sparked an upsurge of fear in a nation with some 3.5 million Muslims residents.

“We are threatened by terrorism, and that threat has never been so close,” Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after the attempted train attacks. “This time we were lucky.”

According to a survey this month by the Demoskopie Institute, the nation’s leading pollster, 61 percent now believe Germany is a target for Islamic militants.

Such fears lay behind the Berlin Opera House’s cancellation of Mozart’s opera, “Idomeneo” after an anonymous threat over a scene that included the severed head of the prophet Muhammad. In less publicized, seemingly absurd reactions, a local school in the central German town of Dillenberg ordered a gymnasium to be darkened when Muslim girls work out there, while law enforcement officials in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia ordered a woman to change the name of her horse from “Muhammad” to “Momi.”

False bomb alerts have become an almost daily routine at many train stations. Sprawling railroad terminals in major cities, including Hamburg, Bonn, Koblenz and Mannheim, have been temporarily sealed off.

“We keep getting calls from worried citizens about what they presume to be terrorist activities,” said a Hamburg police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in accordance with department policy.

Last month, a two-year dialogue program initiated by the interior minister to integrate German Muslims into mainstream society began between prominent Muslims and government officials

But anti-Muslim sentiment appears to be growing. “We are already beginning to knuckle under to Islam,” said a recent headline in Bildzeitung, Germany’s largest-circulation newspaper, protesting the number of mosques being built in the downtowns of German cities.

Two Lebanese students studying at German universities were identified in August as the main suspects in the failed train attacks. Yousef Mohammed El Hajdid, 21, was arrested in the northern town of Kiel, while 19-year-old Jihad Mamad was detained in Lebanon. Both were identified by video cameras installed at all train stations.

No formal charges have been filed, but investigators say both harbored deep hatred toward Israel, and the West.

And while authorities stress that the overwhelming majority of the Muslim population opposes violence, the domestic intelligence agency Verfassungsschutz, or Guardians of the Constitution, has classified 32,000 Muslims as “Islamic radicals,” including 4,000 described as “violence prone.”

Manfred Murck, a top official of the agency in Hamburg, recently said that 30 of Hamburg’s 100 mosques are being monitored for “suspicious activity,” including the Al-Khuds mosque where Mohammed Atta and his Hamburg cell met daily before the Sept. 11 attacks. These mosques serve as meeting places for “clandestine agencies for Islamic extremist networks,” Murck said.

Elmer Thevessen, a senior editor at ZDF national television network who has worked on numerous documentaries on terrorism, says the most likely converts to radical Islam in Germany are, like elsewhere in Europe, young, second-generation Muslims.

“They often feel isolated, don’t know where they really belong, and often feel contempt for their immigrant parents, accusing them of being interested only in earning a decent living and adapting to German life,” Thevessen said.

Thevessen says they are influenced by radical ideas spread on the Internet and Arabic language satellite TV networks such as Al-Manar, operated in Lebanon by Hezbollah.

“Thanks to Al-Manar, we know all about the horrible crimes committed by Israeli soldiers in Lebanon — the murders of small babies and old sick people — and the massacres by American soldiers of pregnant woman in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said a young man who gave his name only as Mustafa as he played soccer in a parking lot in Freilassing, a commercial center in southern Bavaria.

Norbert Schneider, head of the Broadcasting Regulation Authority in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said he finds Al-Manar’s programs “sordid” and “very alarming.” While Al-Manar is banned in the United States and from a French-based satellite distribution network, there is no legal basis to stop its programs being broadcast in Germany. “They operate in a lawless sphere, and there is nothing we can do about it,” said Schneider.

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