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The streets of Neukölln: Has integration failed?

The Local · 16 Sep 2010, 18:51

Published: 16 Sep 2010 18:51 GMT+02:00

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Ersun Karaduman's life just doesn't jibe with the statistics so often cited by Thilo Sarrazin.

The outgoing Bundesbank board member Sarrazin claims in his inflammatory new book that unintelligent Muslim immigrants are largely incompatible with German society, but Karaduman says with some pride that his German is better than his Turkish.

Born in Berlin, the 20-year-old still helps out at his father's store on Neukölln's Donaustrasse while finishing his degree in international marketing. And though he does not yet have German citizenship, he plans to apply for it soon.

His father may fit the stereotype of the small retailer which the now disgraced Sarrazin used to dismiss many Arabs and Turks as being good only for selling fruit and vegetables, but Karaduman is happy to have inherited his father's aspirational drive.

“My father is my hero … He had nothing when he came from Turkey. Eight years later he was married to my mother, he worked every day, we had food and clothing and a home,” he says. “He's shown my brothers and me what is possible, and my mother reminds us all the time that we can't risk everything he's done for us.”

Of Sarrazin, Karaduman says: “He doesn't know Neukölln; he doesn't know us.”

Neukölln, the heavily Turkish and Arabic district in southern Berlin, is the area that Sarrazin and other integration critics most often point to when the subject of Germany's immigration problems arise. Roughly one in five Neukölln residents is unemployed and that figure rises to 30 percent when restricted to the immigrant population.

Social problems are reportedly twice as high as in Berlin on whole, and some 40 percent of youths there have no post-high school education, even vocational training.


The district's mayor, Heinz Buschkowsky, is blunt in admitting the challenges he faces.

“Our society is hurtling towards a massive problem and we can no longer afford to rely on powers of persuasion,” he told Berlin daily Tagesspiegel recently. “We are sleepwalking into a crisis.”

Nobody denies there are problems in Neukölln, but people who spoke to The Local on the streets, in the shops and on the housing estates of the district this week were adamant that there is as much cause for optimism as despair. Sarrazin and his numerous supporters among ordinary Germans are wrong to claim that immigrant communities are not interested in integrating with mainstream society, these people say.

This view was poignantly illustrated in June by the harassment of Ibrahim Bassal, an immigrant Neukölln shopkeeper who proudly hung up a 20 metre-long German flag during the football World Cup to support the country's national team only to have it torn down by leftist extremists.

Indeed, there are many people working and striving to lift these communities out of the welfare traps, the education failures, high crime rates and cultural gulfs that now beset them.

A new role model

Eighteen-year-old Merve, a tall woman of Turkish descent, and remarkable maturity and poise, has a hard-headed and unvarnished view of the problems facing her district. There is too much dependency on Hartz IV welfare benefits, she says. Parents are failing as role models and children are growing up with no expectations.

“Hartz IV is very comfortable for their parents,” she says. “The children see their parents unemployed and they think that is life – ‘I'll be unemployed too.' They turn to stealing, to graffiti, to making weapons. Even I get offered drugs ... and I wear a headscarf.”

But Merve herself is an example of her young generation's potential. Despite not having the crucial Abitur school qualification that allows entry to university, she is doing a special two-year early childhood development course to become a kindergarten teacher.

“Things have to change and that's why I want to become a kindergarten teacher,” she says. “Parents need to motivate their children and push them more. But also politicians and businesses need to help – they need to focus on getting the youth into jobs and make sure there are enough apprenticeships.”

Sezen Tatlici is a member of Deukische Generation, a young German-Turkish group that advocates integration. She agrees that having better role models is vital for immigrant youths in Neukölln, because many are growing up without any pressure to succeed.

“When you have low expectations of people, those people will live down to those expectations,” the 27-year-old says, explaining how she was told by a teacher she wouldn't achieve Abitur or make it to a university-track high school. “Some teachers think the Turkish and Arabic kids are not as intelligent as the other kids. A lot of kids don't have the self-confidence to get over that.”

Hopes dashed

Moussa El-Ghazi, a 20-year-old of Palestinian background who works at a fast-food chicken restaurant on Neukölln's Sonnenallee, is one of those who feels rejected and disenfranchised. El-Ghazi says he sent out 80 applications to get a vocational training place after he finished school and was either turned down or heard no answer at all.

“I feel like shit about it,” he says. “You don't want to write any more (applications) after that. You don't have any confidence and motivation after 80 people turn you down. I had the qualifications, so I have to think it was prejudice.”

There are figures to back up his suspicions. In February, researchers at the Bonn-based Institute for the Study of Labour (IZA) found that Turkish job applicants were clearly discriminated against. Job applications bearing German-sounding names were 14 percent more likely to receive a phone call response from an employer, and 24 percent more likely in the case of smaller firms – evidence of “statistical discrimination,” the researchers said.

A fearsome reputation

El-Ghazi went to Neukölln's infamous Rütli School, which made headlines in 2006 when teachers wrote a letter to the city government saying the school should be closed because they could no longer control the violent students.

There was, no doubt, a serious problem. But a security guard – a native German – outside the school this week said he talks to the students every day and they are, for most part, good kids. He subscribes to the widely-held view that some tabloid newspaper reporters paid students to behave violently during the media frenzy over conditions at the school.

Indeed, the question arises as to what extent Neukölln deserves its reputation. Many people in the area say the area has been unfairly written off and that politicians like Sarrazin, along with sensation-seeking journalists, come down hard the moment something goes wrong, when in fact there are problems all over Berlin as with any big city.

Certainly, Neukölln's problems, particularly when it comes to crime and public safety, are modest compared parts of London or Paris.

British librarian Mark Ellis, 46, who moved to Neukölln from the notoriously tough east London suburb of Stepney nine months ago, says he's aware of the reputation of the area, but thinks it is overblown.

“I do understand there are problems here,” said Ellis, who was drinking in a pub near the Neukölln town hall. “I had my lunch in the park the other day and there was this guy circling in front of me, just going back and forth until he finally came over and said, ‘Are you the police?' And I said, ‘What are you talking about? I'm a librarian eating my sandwiches.'

“But after five years of living in Stepney, I don't feel in the least bit scared or intimidated in Neukölln.”

Integration from the grass roots up

Tatlici from Deukische Generation says the single most important thing that can be done to overcome the problems in Neukölln is German language education from a young age. She also shares the view of Mayor Buschkowsky that day care should be firmly enforced from a young age.

That way, immigrant children are speaking German and mixing with German children even as toddlers – a crucial step to improving their language skills and thereby their education prospects. It's a view shared by a majority of education experts.

“People say (the youths) speak Turkish instead of German,” she says. “But you should hear their Turkish – it's not good either. They're between two identities.”

Until such a policy is put in place, Neukölln residents are doing some of the work themselves. On the ground floor of a building on a rather grim housing estate building on Morusstrasse, a group called Kinderclub Rollberg, part of the Arabic Culture Institute, runs integration programs for children and families.

“We speak German here … language is the important first step,” explains Mohammad Jamil, a Palestinian who helps run the project. “The kids speak German to each other. We don't talk about religion and politics – those are fine, but we leave them at home. We don't want the kids to feel like outsiders.”

Instead, the project encourages children from all backgrounds to join in sports, art, music and recreation activities. It offers language and integration courses – some for women only – and holds events where officials from the police or the city's youth services officials come to explain how these institutions work.

It's hard for the likes of Jamil and co-worker T.N. Gunaratnam, a Tamil from Sri Lanka, to stomach the sweeping statements by commentators like Sarrazin that immigrants in Neukölln don't want to integrate.

“We want to integrate with the German people,” he said. “Not for Sarrazin or Angela Merkel, but for ourselves.”

David Wroe/Ruth Michaelson (david.wroe@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

19:56 September 16, 2010 by vb74
The vast majority of muslims don't integrate well into any western country.We all know it, so let's be adults about it and stop pretending.
20:25 September 16, 2010 by pantheratigris
I'm sorry my first comment on The Local has got to be negative, but guys please try to be objective. Using such comments like inflammatory new book, the now disgraced Sarrazin, politicians like Sarrazin, commentators like Sarrazin, etc makes this article lose all its credibility. Although I don't agree with most views expressed by Sarrazin I believe the article doesn't have to be this biased. At least give the guy some credit for having the cojones to speak out. I'd like to remember you that in a free country everyone is free to express his/her own views! Adios
20:45 September 16, 2010 by bmck
Perhaps immigrants should be prevented from opening certain businesses?

For example, Germany looked for immigrants to fulfill jobs no longer desired by Germans. If the immigrant, then opens a business, then does that mean Germany is still in need of a worker?

Appears to be a cycle without end?
21:26 September 16, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
Yes, a decent piece in The Local!
21:37 September 16, 2010 by Edin
Few points by a Muslim:

1. Unlike so many things in GER, Integration is so ambigously defined term, that for some it means complete assimilation, and for some nothing. This must be clearly defined... what does it mean for religion, language, culture etc. Clear example of this is every single photo published on this site, where immigration title is directly bound to a photo of a women with a veil-hidjab. I ask, what does it suggest, does full integration mean taking the veil off????

2. Not all muslims in GER are Turks, and highest percent of those other muslims are actually very highly educated, most to the univ degree, and a lot even to a phd degree. Hence we do find these comments rasist and islamophobic.

3.Turks which imigrated where asked for as a low-level labour, no educated Turks came to Germany. No brain is needed to figure out that children of those people also stand most chances of not being educated.

4. There are a lot of ways to make things better for all, and this is what needs to be addressed. Even if Sarazin is right, his proposed solutions are nothing but rasist and will solve nothing.
23:42 September 16, 2010 by wxman
European nations such as Britain, Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries are serving well as the "mine canaries" for the US. We're watching, and hopefully taking notes.
00:49 September 17, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Yes, I'm sure you are.
03:47 September 17, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

I'd be happy to comment on your question.

Yes, integration means taking the veil off. It means taking on the language, the culture, the way of life. Your religion, no one cares about. Practice it as you wish. However, our society is secular, and that must be respected. Outside of that, our largest religion is Christianity, and as such, that must be respected as well. I realize that for an educated Muslim, this is not an issue, since Christians, Muslims, and Jews are all equally much people of the Book.

The veil is a popular target because of what it represents. It represents an unquestioning religious dedication that we, in this society, are no longer comfortable with. Your people, as well as mine, have experienced over a thousand years of warfare caused by nothing but religion. We're no longer willing to have that sort of feverish belief breed among us - no matter if Muslim or Christian.

I'm sorry, but it's really very simple. While we have a large degree of tolerance for personal religious practice, in the end, integration into German society means secularization. It's not about racism or a lack of respect for anyone or anything. It's just the way it is. Take it or leave it, I'm afraid.
03:48 September 17, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@Edin ... you prove Sarrazin's point. Assuming you are all the things you say you are you are the best case for integration, yet you reject it out of hand.

The veil-hadjib represents Sharia to Westerners. While we tolerate such things as part of good manners to guests (as long as the legal limits are observed - we will not tolerate nine year old brides even from guests) we despise Sharia. Leave it behind if you want to integrate into Western society. If you can't, go back to those anti-civilizations like Iran that practice it.
04:38 September 17, 2010 by proclusian
@Grenadier, DavidtheNorseman:

Edin is right, and the evidence that he is right is the perfect nonsense being put forth by you two.

Grenadier, you haven't a bloody clue what the hijab represents. Do you think a Muslim gives a rat's arse what you think it represents in your random made-up world of political symbols?

David, you haven't a clue about Sharia. Would you also say something like this to someone who is Jewish? That they need to leave behind kosher laws and the laws of the Torah, and stop wearing the skullcap to integrate?

Because basically that is what you are saying. If you're not willing to say that to a Jewish person, then you need to stop telling Edin that he needs to abandon Sharia, because you're being entirely inconsistent. And if you are willing to say that to the jewish person, then you're Neonazi trash.
06:55 September 17, 2010 by pablochuken
¦quot;People say (the youths) speak Turkish instead of German,¦quot; she says. ¦quot;But you should hear their Turkish ­ it¦#39;s not good either. They¦#39;re between two identities.¦quot;

It must be very hard, to not know where you belong or who you really are.... And that 's always, in different levels, the reality of the immigrants. Here, in Germany, or anywhere else.
07:35 September 17, 2010 by Jason2
Oh my god... wake up. It is completely bunk to always bring up one or two good examples of how some turk did integradet just fine. This is a structural problem! So it doesen't help and doesen't change anything if you bring up one good example.
08:18 September 17, 2010 by JohnPaul44
I agree with many others here that integration, or even simple good manners, requires taking the veil off in public. Perception is all-important in public interaction. Such a deliberate public display of intentional "difference" cannot help but be perceived as beligerently offensive. Practice your religion in private or in the company of other Muslims, but keep it off the public streets! This applies to any religion, not just Islam.

If I visited a Muslim country, I would expect to keep my own personal beliefs private. Although I probably would not participate with Muslims in religious services, neither would I march down the street carrying a ten-foot cross and singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" at the top of my voice!

08:29 September 17, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Is no one willing to concede that both sides of this debate have some validity? Certainly Muslim immigrants, like all immigrants, should be expected to integrate and assimilate into society if they expect to remain here, work and avail themselves of what this society has to offer. They must also be allowed to practice their religion freely. However, this IS a secular society, a constitutional republic of secular laws, and there is no place in it for Shariah law. Like any person living here -- Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist -- the Muslim must recognize the primacy of the law of the land. If non-Muslims are fearful of Shariah law, they have every reason to be. It is spectacularly barbaric, intolerant and anachronistic. When Muslim and non-Muslim cultures collide in a secular society, the Muslim must agree to submit to secular law or remove himself to a theocratic society more to his liking. There are approximately 8 million Muslims living peacefully in the United States who have no problem practicing their faith AND subjecting themselves to the secular law of the land. Only those extreme radical elements -- Muslim and Christian -- who are longing for a religious war to the death are unwilling or unable to accept a compromise solution to the question of Muslim assimilation in secular societies. Theirs is not a viable option.
08:31 September 17, 2010 by steve_glienicke
Think there are arguments to be made from both sides of the fence, on one hand yes i see it as important to try and intergrate, learn the language and so on, i see many brits in berlin who have not bothered to learn the language or intergrate, just go down the irish pubs on a friday evening to see them all in there little packs bemoaning everything thats wrong in germany, its not just turks and arabs that can fail to intergrate.

on the other side, i think germans have a lot to learn about acceptance, the intergration of a society has to work both ways, examples like turk applicants are far less likely to even be concidured for a interview, with qualifications as good as or better than a german national, if they want immigrants to intergrate then they have to help them to do that, and make them feel far more at home in their new country, but face facts, most germans dont want a muslim family living next to them, thats why these communities grow in places like neukölln, they would rather have them all packed together than spread all over the place...

sarazans comments just prove my point, he is just as guilty of not intergrating with other cultures by his simplistics views, he typifies so many germans, who only want to see things one way, boths arguments are valid, but like i said intergration can only work when everyone tries to intergrate, local nationals or immigrants arriving to germany.
10:25 September 17, 2010 by vjtheking
@ proclusian - BRAVO !! A very solid and well deserved kick to the backsides of the pseudo-secularists like David & Grenadier.

David & Grenadier - understand 1st what the veil & the Sharia represent before you spout your islamophobic vitriol. If the veil or any other piece of clothing represents integration (or lack of), I would like to 1st see all Germans strutting the streets wearing lederhosen. Do that and you'll see the veil disappear.

As for all the self-righteous cries about how the Koran & Sharia breed terrorism, look no further than Pastor Terry Jones to see how bigoted Christians can be. Visit my land India where you see Christian missionaries force or coerce uneducated tribals into Christianism for a few dollars.

Don't throw stones at others - remember your house is made of glass too!!
11:30 September 17, 2010 by michael4096
Various german politicians have called integration a 'mega-problem' and the 'biggest problem facing the government next year'. However, those who stop listening to the rhetoric and walk down the streets with their eyes open, like the article's author, see a different story.

Sure the world isn't perfect and people of different cultures always shock the senses - its natural - but a mega-problem?

Say I wave my magic wand, said the magic word "sarrazin", and all immigrants suddenly spoke german, kept their faces uncluttered and ate sausages (turkey). What mega-problems will go away tomorrow?

Everybody will be rich - I don't think so. Better education - hardly, the problems there are structural and socio-economic. Unemployment - maybe, but there isn't a great deal and most is in the east. Security - it is already one of the safest countries and immigration hasn't been high on the reason list for any recent violence.

Somebody help here - what mega-problem will disappear?
13:43 September 17, 2010 by Johnne
Some people here actually make it more obvious how ignorant and misinformed westerners are. The same people that will go to Turkey and send their children to German schools and shop in the few German grocery stores. The same people that their ancestors took imperialism and christianity to Africa. I didn´t see a westerner going to a mosque in Dubai,Qatar or Kuwait just because thy´re guest workers there. Some of them even had sex on the beac and were caught "lol" there are Goethe Colleges all over the world (for German citizens) no one has murdered any German for it. My friends in David & Grenadier..stop preaching your Nazism here! reply me if you like but I am 100% sure both of yo are racists. I know what I´m saying because I´m a black, my dad is an immigrant. and my mum is a westerner. I KNOW YOU´RE RACISTS!!
14:12 September 17, 2010 by chimpansi
Sick of this immigrant bashing.. if u r getting someone into your country who is looking different & who has different lifestyle to that of your country they will continue to look & live different. Isnt that commonsense?

there is no problem in first place. there is a huge bill & immigrants are easy targets..

most of them other than those who are not give opportunity to work are paying tax, social welfare & insurance just like others... most of the turks came to country and made this country rich.. so in theory they have contributed more than anyother germans..

u want turkish food, u want turks to serve you, u want them to sell u cheap products, etc.. but u still want to bash them.. isnt that crazy??

just have some tolerance, embrace others & live a happy life.

idle mind is devils paradise.. get back to work guys...
14:50 September 17, 2010 by hanskarl
@Prufrock2010 "When Muslim and non-Muslim cultures collide in a secular society, the Muslim must agree to submit to secular law or remove himself to a theocratic society more to his liking. "

Well said.
15:34 September 17, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Good lord, some of you are reactionary.

I understand perfectly well what the hijab actually is - but the facts of it's nature are completely irrelevant. What is relevant is the nominal worst-case response it garners from people, and that is one of distrust. You guys just aren't getting it. It has absolutely nothing to do with what the practitioner of the average religion is really like, it's all about how people perceive them.

If you want to be considered 'normal' in German society, you practice your religion indoors, you don't profess extremely strong religious views in public, you don't evangelize your religion aggressively, and you speak German. I'm not saying it's right; I'm just saying it's fact. As a matter of fact, society is rarely right about anything. However, in our democracy, the people ultimately wield all the power. So, you'll have to bend to their will or bid adieu.
16:05 September 17, 2010 by snowey
I was born in the UK but spent my teenage years in Australia (11 years in total). I always supported the English cricket & rugby teams. Many years later I was watching in London a West Indies versus England cricket match with a West Indian friend & his third genration grandson. The latter supported England & his granfather the West Indies. We agreed that it takes 3 generaions for a immigrant family to be fully intergrated.
18:00 September 17, 2010 by mockingbird
people in europe must understand that centuries of civilisation and culture built on a totally opposite and contradicting model of value and ethics cannot be erased in one generation not even in 10

muslim population can NEVER integrate because for them you will be asking too much too far - everything

They will never accept living as full part of german or french society

it is becoming much easier for them to keep touch with their country of origin.

NOTHING will change until they will reach majority in a region or country and when they will take over and i can assure you that CIVIL WAR IS the MINIMUM you can expect

hopefully by then you will wake up europe

I'm not european but from here i can see it much more clearly because i know the mentalities and the culture. It's a daily routine for me

unfortunately most europeansHAVE NO IDEA about the true mentalities

18:29 September 17, 2010 by foreverescape
I've lived in Neukölln and have never felt unsafe here. I raise my young child here and am happy to live in a place where the kids are safe to play in the streets, that isn't possible in a lot of cities. Hartz IV is everywhere here (as a single mum I am sadly part of that) and that won't help the area. I get frustrated that alot of the help I see for immigrants in Neukölln (beratung, ausbildung information etc) doesn't include myself as a Britain! I am however proud to say I live in Neukölln and I plan on supporting my area as much as possible. 'WIR SIND NEUKíLLN'
18:33 September 17, 2010 by markoer
Instead Mr. mockinbird has clearly the right ideas about mentalities. Brilliant.

Proclusian is totally right, instead. Defining integration is the key part. No one but racists like Sarcozy or the Lega Nord party in Italy really wants to mess up with the veil, exactly like any sane person will never mess up with the Jewish headscarf.

Unfortunately Islamic populations have not passed through anything comparable to the Enlightenment we had in the eighteenth century. Anyway we have our own part of religion bigotry, what about the Christian Church imposing behaviours in so self-defined "free" states?
18:44 September 17, 2010 by mockingbird
my friend hoepfully one day you will not fight against a law passed democratically in one of europe's parliament to impose the veil on your daughter or granddaughter

it's becoming very very probable

look at the balkans look at turkey where radicals are gaining ground

the best is yet to come for europe ..... unfortunately

you might say that this might never come true

but you only need to go and buy an egyptian film from the 60's and 70's and compare it to a current one and you will know what kind of radicalisation is going on

I can assure you that in 50 years from now mentalities would become much more extremist - IT'S A POLITICAL CURRENT WITH DEFINIT GOALS

19:43 September 17, 2010 by fair1day
Watch out! Muslims do not make good europeans.
19:49 September 17, 2010 by Beachrider
If anyone thinks that the USA isn't at the forefront of culture assimilation issues on scales that simply don't exist in European countries, then they have their eyes closed. Move on with that.

As to cultural assimilation in general, European countries have preserved ancestral-ways to a degree that would never be accepted in the USA. Immigrants to those countries apparently feel that they can preserve their ancestral-ways similarly when they immigrate to Europe. That is something that need to be picked up in your immigration policies.

Immigration policies take many years to generate results. There is still substantial hangover from the decades of 'guest worker' mentality in Germany. From what I read here, some think that it is still CURRENT policy in Germany.
20:16 September 17, 2010 by wxman
I'm marking this day in my calendar as the shortest response to a post that Prufrock has ever made, to my experience.
20:47 September 17, 2010 by Kennneth Ingle
Similar to the arguments to be read on BBC¦#39;s ¦quot;Have Your Say,¦quot; concerning the visit of the Pope to England, it would seem that also in the case of Sarrazin many try to say, ¦quot;because all blackbirds are birds, all birds must be black.¦quot;

It is totally wrong, to suggest that all Moslems refuse to integrate, just as it is wrong to blame the Pope and all priests because there have been many crimes against children within the Catholic church. These are largely committed by people with a homosexual predicament, but can we say that all Gays are paedophile?

Nobody in this country is being forced to live a Christian life, although the cultures of most European states are based on Christian values. On the other side, we do have many Moslem who say quite clearly, that they have no intention of integrating into our society, although they take it for granted to be entitled to, a free education, a first class health service and often a furnished home, at the expense of the German taxpayer.

Sarrazin has brought such imperfections in the immigration policies of this country into the limelight. At the same time however, he has managed a deal to receive a pension which is more than double the amount that the average German employee can hope to earn for a full time job.

How can it be, that it is quite common for certain people, in Germany, to be paid more for doing nothing, than others receive for working hard all day? Of course every retired person should qualify for an income which allows a reasonable standard of living. Nevertheless it would appear that although all people are equal according to the German Constitution, some are more equal than others.
00:23 September 18, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
@proclusion...Nice try but you know it won't wash. There is nothing in Jewish culture or religion that involves forcing one's neighbours to do as you do by any and all means (though their religious texts instruct them to maintain certain codes of behaviour inside the boundaries of their ancestral lands ie Israel). Sharia is all about extending - by force if possible - Islamic practice to the ends of the Earth.

The Jews want to sell me grapefruit and live peacefully in their tiny little corner.

Sharia wants to extend it's unholy controls over me and mine.

Don't insult us all by comparing the two.
01:59 September 18, 2010 by Prufrock2010
wxman --

Stop trying to bust my balls. If you have a criticism of my comment. let's hear it.
09:25 September 18, 2010 by jade_divoff
Comment: @Der Grenadier, I usually agree with most comments you make but I found your comment to be disappointing.

There is a difference between a head scarf and a burka, and believe it or not many Muslim women like to wear their head scarves as a sign of their faith. My Catholic grandmother never left the house without a veil on her head and married Hassidic Jewish women always wear their shpitzel. How is this different from a religious Muslim woman wearing a head scarf and more importantly what does it have to do with integration? If we are now saying that head scarves should be sacrificed at the altar of integration, what will be next? Will Sikhs have to remove their turbans, nuns their habits, Hindu women their saris...will rastafarians have to cut off their locks? Prufrock is correct, one should be allowed to practice one's faith however one wishes...once your faith does not infringe upon the laws of the land.
09:49 September 18, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

I'm sorry, but my aim was not to please. My aim was to give example of how society at large, "the mob", if you will, sees this collectively.

Individual opinions are not my topic in the least.
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15:45 September 18, 2010 by Icarusty
As an ethnic minority of another white country (not an immigrant, though my parents were) I know first hand how difficult it is to integrate. For a start - there needs to be a willingness on BOTH sides. If the immigrant makes an effort but the locals don't, it will never work - the outsider will never be accepted, will create resentment and simply encourage hostilities on both sides to harden and escalate.

Disregarding different languages, cultures and religions (all major hurdles, yet - language excluded - all irrelevant if two peoples with different characteristics were to get along), my parents did not have the contacts, the people that helped the natives to succeed and prosper, or the life experience that comes with being a native afforded to them to allow them an unlimited life. Even now as a native, but non-white, I am excluded from many social circles and thus, knowledge that will give me more opportunties and such. This is translated to Turkish people only setting up fruit stalls, Indians and Chinese people setting up takeaways, Asians setting up cornershops in Britain - they have no alternative. No doubt they all have the same aspirations as most whites do - to earn as much money as possible, be in charge of everything etc... the difference is that society closes all the doors to them - native born or immigrant - and thus they are prevented from fulfilling their potential.

Of course all this just allows people like Sarrazin to perpetuate the negative stereotypes of such people, whilst turning a blind eye to the failed white natives who, despite being afforded all the above and more, are life failures - but even they have a path that is not open to immigrants - they can blame the foreigners for their failures.
22:12 September 18, 2010 by jade_divoff
"Is there any part of the old world where integration really has worked though?" Yes...Trinidad and Tobago.
23:34 September 18, 2010 by JohnPaul44
It is not Sarrazin which convinces me that Germany has a serious uncontrolled immigration problem. It is the strength and virulence of the reaction against him. He has not just struck a sore point, he has struck a festering cancer which is spouting bile and pus back at him. Ranting politicians are a dime a dozen, but when you hear liberals squealing like stuck pigs, you can be sure that someone has outed something they would rather the public didn't know.

Some of Sarrazin's rhetoric is unpleasant. No one enjoys listening to an alarm clock or a fire siren, but it is the purpose and value of an alarm signal to be loud and unpleasant.

As for Sarrazin's book, I have not read it, but I intend to. Most authors can only dream of receiving such public attention. Sarrazin should send a thank-you note and a shared royalty check to every liberal in Germany, and to some writers in this forum!
03:31 September 19, 2010 by Prufrock2010
How can you comment on Sarrazin's book without having read it? Do you automatically label anyone who disagrees with a racist and xenophobe who foments hatred of Muslims a "liberal?" If so, what does that make you?

I like the royalty check idea, though. I'll be waiting by my mailbox.
06:33 September 19, 2010 by JohnPaul44
I don't automatically label anyone. I need a little more information. Do you believe the government should provide "low income housing," but not in your neighborhood? Do you believe students who can barely read and write are still "entitled" to a high school diploma, because denying the diploma might damage their self-esteem? Do you believe that the only thing needed to fix our schools is more tax dollars? If so, I would have strong suspicions that you are a liberal. If you sincerely believe that you know best what is good for other people and everything would be fine if they just listened to you, then I would be sure of it!
10:50 September 19, 2010 by dudenaut
Well, we are europians because we want to live in an europenian country with an europenian society that's mean europenian habits, culture and so on. We are living at our home, and just enjoing our being here :) That's why we don't go living in Turkey - we don't need this difference and other lifestyle, culture and so on. But why so many immigrant brings this Turkey to us? We don't want this. We have our own life and we want just sitting here and enjoing it. But we can't. That's the problem.

That's like you arrange with your friend for watching some WM football match at your home. You plan to have much fun and enjoing your time. You prepaired all day, you have buy a lots of beer. But when your frined is comming, he just taking the pult and switch channel to some extremely uninteresting movie. He doesn't care about football and your arrangement. And then you tried to talk with him about switching to the football, he says "hey! tha't happend? why can't i watch what i want? this is discrimination!".

Well, actually i can't see the difference between living somewhere and observe other culture and lifestyle. Following someones lifestyle, culture, habits and so on - this is integration. If turkeys, arabs or someone else want to live in europa, they must integrate. Many of them integrated - that's good. But many of them just "switching our channels". So i just don't understand people who moved here and don't want to integrate. Yes, you should learn language, you should go at school, probably you should take your veil off, and of course you should have a glass of beer at friday. If you don't want our lifestyle - why are you coming? That's the question.

At the other hand just imagine that you (europenian) are going to Turkey for some reason for a long time. For example for a real good work with a great salary and conditions. Much greater, than you have here. Will you go? Probably yes. Will your wife wearing the veil? OK. Not wearing it, but avoid to wear some apparel, which you used to (just because it in a good manner)? I don't think so :( We are just the same.

So, this is very comprehensive problem. May be it's just can't be solved at all.
07:44 September 20, 2010 by JohnPaul44
As an agnostic, I have enjoyed informally debating religion for more than 60 years and have discovered one characteristic that is common to all "true believers." They are all equally ignorant of most of the doctrines and history of even their own church, and are hostile to even small differences in doctrine. Everything they know, they have apparently learned from an equally ignorant preacher. I can't count the number of Bible-thumpers who have assured me that their own sect, or even their own little congregation, are the only true Christians. All others are in error, and are destined for hell.

It is not "Islam" which is hostile to western culture. It is the religious leaders, the "Imams" or whatever, who preach holy war to increase their own importance, work their congregations into a state of religious ecstacy, and all the simple masses blindly follow to do "God's (or the Imam's) work."

This was true of the Christian Crusades, and it is true of the Muslim world now.
15:54 September 20, 2010 by cleatsketch
It's pretty sad that this article seeks to discredit Sarrazin by citing a single anecdote.

And there is a "Jewish Gene". Jews agree. Studies by Jews have found that the worlds disparate Jewish populations are more closely related to each other genetically than they are to their host populations (ie the Ashkenazi are more closely related, genetically, to the Mizrahim, than they are to their Germanic neighbours).

But yeah. I guess it's only anti-semetic when a gentile points these things out.
20:13 September 20, 2010 by JohnPaul44
Extreme cultural differences publicly displayed, such as "honor killings," are, of course, an impossible barrier to integration, or even tolerance, but in my own personal contacts, lack of language skills and lack of education are the most common barriers.

Before retirement, I worked in a semi-professional (technical) field. Occasionally, new hires of obviously different ethnic origin, such as black, Latino, and Chinese, would join the group. At first glance, they were obviously "different," but after opening their mouths and speaking fluently about common intellectual interests, they suddenly became "people." The differences magically vanished!
02:56 September 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Insanity abounds on this thread.
11:38 September 21, 2010 by JohnPaul44
Several posts here have vigorously defended Islam and claimed that it does not support either terrorism or the subjugation of women. I beg to differ.

I am a nonbeliever, an agnostic, neither Muslim nor Christian, but I have read both the Koran and the Bible as part of my education. My opinions are not based on faith, they are based on an attempt to be fair and objective.

I no longer have my copy of the Koran, so I cannot give specific references, but I believe the Koran does not REQUIRE
12:48 September 21, 2010 by JohnPaul44
In the spirit of fairness, we should read some detailed accounts of the Christian Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch hunts during the centuries of Christian rule in Europe, all justified by the Bible. The mainline churches horribly murdered millions of people. Clergymen proudly wrote textbooks on methods of torture to be used by the church. Read the accounts of the crusade against the "heretics" in southern France. At the order of the Papal Legate, the pope's troops built huge bonfires and threw the surviving inhabitants of a city into the flames to be burned alive. Even family pets were tortured as "emmisaries of Satan."

Just thought I would mention it to give this thread a little balance..
21:17 September 21, 2010 by wxman
Wasn't trying to bust your balls, Prufrock. Just making an observation. When everyone is discussing what time it is, you always want to build us a watch.
00:14 January 29, 2011 by surj
wxman, #4, " European nations such as Britain, Germany,France and the Scandinavian are serving well as the 'mine canaries' for US .We're watching and hopefully taking notes " You are not far behind, see w w w. blip.tv / file /1382254 close the gaps
00:03 February 7, 2011 by jrepka
I do not think this thread is crazy, I think these people are scared or just do not have a clue how to approach such a large problem.Obviously the so-called job the Germans did not want are occupied by other Germans right now so maybe this speaks to something deeper. Germans wanted the cheap labour and they got it, well all that money you saved in the short time has come back with interest. These people need too see another Turk or Muslim in power trying to lead and better themselves. How? No idea. You can not expect people to not lash out if they have no hope or a path to be better than what they are. It is one thing to fail but never being allowed to is vastly worse. I am not saying feel sorry for them or even like them, but common respect and decency to help out a fellow being is not to much to ask. Its all in perceptions. You do not think that they do not feel the "looks"? Look at how they are protrayed in the media, do they not have a right to feel a bit angery? Start on the little things and move outward, you may find that it may take some time, but the effort would be apperciated eventually.
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