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The new anti-Semitism
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The new anti-Semitism

Published: 15 Oct 2010 14:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 15 Oct 2010 14:27 GMT+02:00

Pedants never tire of pointing out that the term anti-Semitism should not solely apply to prejudice against Jews, but also other Semitic peoples like the Arabs.

For once, I’m for backing such Semitic semantics in light of the increasingly acrid debate about the integration of Arab and Turkish immigrants in Germany. In recent weeks, it’s become rather apparent that bigotry towards Muslims is Europe’s new anti-Semitism.

Last weekend, Horst Seehofer, the conservative state premier of Bavaria, sparked outrage by calling for an end to immigration from Islamic countries. Many German observers chalked up his comments as a ham-fisted attempt to bolster support for his Christian Social Union party by pandering to crass xenophobia.

But Seehofer’s remarks followed several of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives expressing unease over German President Christian Wulff’s recent statement that Islam was as much a part of German society as Christianity and Judaism. One Bavarian politician even said there could be no religious equality for Islam in Germany.

Of course, anyone who thinks Muslim influence on European culture was rolled back with the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1683 should try living without the benefits of algebra for a day.

But the contentious national discussion started over the summer by the centre-left Social Democrat Thilo Sarrazin – who claimed in an inflammatory book that Muslim immigrants would be Germany’s downfall – should not be dismissed lightly as harmless populism by insecure politicians.

Just as the statistic-loving former Bundesbank board member Sarrazin wrongly reduced entire groups of people to numbers, Seehofer has maligned individual Turks and Arabs by damning them collectively.

And such publicly professed prejudice has consequences.

Two studies published this week showed German youths held widespread biases against Turks and that xenophobia in Germany was spreading.

Tragically it took something as horrific as the Holocaust to ensure Jews equal treatment in Western democracies like Britain and the United States, where anti-Jewish attitudes were rife prior to World War II. No-one should forget that it was only the incomparable crimes of Nazi Germany committed against Europe’s Jewry that made it no longer socially acceptable to express anti-Semitic sentiments openly.

But unlike many nations, Germans have unflinchingly confronted the darker parts of their past in order to learn from it. Accordingly, Germany must now not allow an entire group of people be discriminated against because of their religion or heritage.

Many German conservatives have recently mentioned the country’s “Christian-Judeo” traditions – something that would normally be expressed in English as being Judeo-Christian. But it’s not just the chronological order of the three monotheistic faiths Judaism, Christianity and Islam that makes it easy to include the Jews while excluding Muslims.

It’s also the Holocaust. People who these days deny the huge cultural contribution of Jews to German society are beyond the pale – and rightfully so. But it doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to apply the ugly rhetoric currently being directed towards Muslims to Germany’s Jewish population before the war.

Let me be painfully clear here – I am in no way equating the persecution Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis with the anti-Muslim sentiment now simmering in modern, democratic Germany.

However, just as it was once acceptable to badmouth Jews and scapegoat them for society’s ills – in Germany as well as Western democracies like America and Britain – millions of law-abiding, well-integrated Muslims are now being targeted unfairly.

It would be easy to say this new anti-Semitism started on September 12, 2001, but Europe’s immigration issues have little to do with overblown fearmongering about Osama bin Laden’s “Islamofascists” plotting world domination. Germany’s Muslim integration problems are of a longer festering sort caused first and foremost by the country’s denial for decades that immigrants from Turkey and elsewhere were here to stay.

There is no point disputing that Arabs and Turks could be better integrated in German society, but labelling them all as unwanted troublemakers simply because of their faith contravenes the core tenets of liberal Western democracy.

No matter your race, creed or colour, if you adhere to the principles of the constitution – the Basic Law in Germany’s case – you should be welcome. Anything else is bigotry, plain and simple.

The Local – set up by two British expats in Sweden – is by nature pro-immigrant. We write for exchange students and engineers from Indonesia and Morocco as much as bankers and au pairs from America and Australia.

Marc Young (marc.young@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:44 October 15, 2010 by michael4096
However, the fear that someone, one day, may tell us how to live our life translates all to often into telling them how to live their lives today
16:31 October 15, 2010 by LancashireLad
Sadly, on a lower, animal level, man is racist.

Man is a tribal animal and needs to belong to something. This is where religions get their power. Back before homo-sapiens, the tribes had to be protected and beings from another tribe were always treated with caution at best. Religions and governments maintain their power by creating the fear of the less understood.

It won't change. It's what man is.
19:35 October 15, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, what I find very interesting about humans, is that they have yet to realize that life should be. Once a person learn the basics, then they should be able to cruise through life rather easily. Nonetheless, as prominent Greek philosophers have proven, it's not easy to get the majority of a society to follow logic.

With all of that being said, the question now is "What will it take to get humans to follow a logical, rational approach to living?"

I'm sure by now, that most people would agree that extraordinary ideas are seriously needed to solve Europe's cultural problems. The fact is, most Europeans actually want a conservative governement. And I'm now sure that Real Conservatism is the only thing that can heal Europe and the world.

Real Conservatism.
21:18 October 15, 2010 by ahmdsamir
Finally a sane voice in the mist of madness

I like most the end of the article:

No matter your race, creed or colour, if you adhere to the principles of the constitution ­ the Basic Law in Germany¦#39;s case ­ you should be welcome. Anything else is bigotry, plain and simple.
21:56 October 15, 2010 by 9900lawre
If you were born in israel you would most likely be a Jew and follow their beliefs. If you were born in Iran you would most likely follow islam and follow their beliefs.

If you were born in India you might be a sihk and follow their beliefs.

Who we are is soley based on where we were born and not what is true. Lets all get a grip and forget the crap about what religion belongs where and unify in the fact that the core values and standards of the world are more important than which entity created the world.

Amen and all variations of the word.
22:48 October 15, 2010 by JAMessersmith
Muhammed was a warrior. Many of his followers wish to emulate him. If Muslims are willing to renounce the actions of Muhammed, then by all means, they should be tolerated. Muhammed himself committed countless atrocities against the Meccan tribes, and the other pagans of the Arabian peninsula. Many who have wished to be like him have also taken violent action against apostates and non-believers... just ask Theo van Gogh... oh yeah, that's right, you can't ask him because he was brutally murdered in the streets by Muhammed's followers.

Conversely, Jesus was not a warrior. He was a pacifist. He never fought or killed anyone. Others who came after him may have been warriors, like Karl der Grosse, and Pope Urban II, but Jesus himself was a peacenik, and his message was explicitly one of anti-violence. So one can honestly say that anyone who commits violence in the name of Jesus is distorting the religion.

In Germany, there is a shadow of a warrior from the not-so distant past who still looms large over the country; whose very symbol and speeches can earn jail time for anyone who flaunts them. Many of his followers still wish to emulate him. Those who lived under his regime and joined his party were free to carry on with their lives after the war so long as they didn't commit any crimes personally and denounced his actions. The same standard should be applied to Islam.

How many cartoonists and filmmakers must die before Germans start to make the connection?
07:22 October 16, 2010 by Cracatoa
Dear Pas.."So long as those views don't mean you think you have a right to tell me how to live my life".. .

Wake up! Of course they want to change your life. They want to change everything you do and everything you think. Don't be so damn naive!
08:53 October 16, 2010 by crm114
The problem in my opinion with Islam is that it is more than just a religious faith, it is has become a political ideology and until those "millions of law abiding, well integrated muslims" have the backbone to standup and denounce the zealouts within their own community, nothing will change, this tacit approval gives the islamofaschists succour and drives the wedge between muslims and infidels still deeper aided and abetted by western european government panderings to perceived muslim sensitivities. The truth of the matter is that despite the facade of conformity and integration, muslims are muslims first and germans, swedes or dutch some way further down the list.
13:56 October 16, 2010 by tallady
Logic guy writes" I'm sure by now, that most people would agree that extraordinary ideas are seriously needed to solve Europe's cultural problems."

and Logic guy being the guy he is ,has a one word answer to ALL our problems

" CONSERVATISM " thank you for rescuing mankind from the depths of despare ...
14:16 October 16, 2010 by hanskarl
As I read this article and review many of these comments it seems to me that this has nothing to do with the Anti-Semitism of the past whose goal was the complete destruction of a single culture and is religious roots. Such were the desires of those wanting a singular superior race.

What is clearly influencing this is the ongoing drive of multiculturalism. Europe and the world is being indoctrinated with this ideology. Multiculturalism is merely one of the many engines within the PC movement and its drive for globalisation and world domination. Political correctness is revealed through such words as tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism, and feminism. So what is real multiculturalism?

Multiculturalism is not the study of many cultures but the criticism of the Western Culture and its founding worldview of Christianity. Multicultural, anti-western self-hate is consuming the West. All of these engines within the Political Correctness movement are part of Cultural Marxism.
14:22 October 16, 2010 by michael4096
@Lancashire Lad - not sure that I agree completely that being racist is a human condition any more than being violent, sexist or thoughtless is the human condition. It happens to be true for a majority of people, but it isn't something that you cannot do anything about - for most people, anyway.

Small children are naturally not racist, they consider those about them, whoever they, are 'normal'. As our sense of normal solidifies we naturally fear those that appear different but we are still not naturally racist.

I was raised by a generation who were young during the second world war and they talked about GIs - 'overpaid, over-sexed and over here'. One of their overwhelmingly emotional memories was the vehemence that white GIs tried to stop contact between black GIs and locals. It ranged from well meant warnings, through threats to violence at times. The locals couldn't understand it - but, black GIs were no more threatening than white ones to them, quite the opposite: they were a sort of novelty.

Ironically, some of these colour-blind locals when they were young turned into real racists as Britain's own black population grew and others warned of death and destruction for 'decent folk'.

Of course, the death and destruction never really happened and most locals, though pretty old now, seem once again content about colour. They also seem to fear less the rhetoric about muslims - like measles, caught racism once and now immune.
23:42 October 16, 2010 by Nyags
Simple facts:

A) German is a very difficult and gramatically complex language. Many foreigners (from diverse backgrounds) as well as many Germans, don't speak it well. The language courses are expensive too.

B) Most Germans are racist and ignorant and do not intergrate with other (esp non-European) foreigners. When they do, it's usually "zweckgebunden" ...with an agenda. Usually sex, improving their language skills or if they are rejects in their own societies and feel more accepted by foreigners.

C) Germans living in Asia, Africa and the Arab world neither intergrate nor even bother to learn the language. They stick to themselves, have a superior attitude and constantly badmouth the locals. D) I can't think of anything inviting or exciting about the German culture other than the beer...if you drink alcohol. The food is not the best, the music, film and TV just as bad, fashion and design live a lot to be desired....etc Thank God for the Turkish Donner Kebab.

E) Rude, uptight, self-righteous,critcal and judgemental, ..................A day in the German world and you come home needing a very stiff drink. There are even web-sites dedicated to German rudeness.

F) It's been years since I met a German who believes in God, let alone considers him/herself Christian. When they're not attacking Muslims, they're tearing down Christianity. The Churches are so empty, your footsteps echo as you walk in. How hypocritical to pull out the religion card every time election comes around.

G) While calling for the turks to intergrate, perhaps they should also call for the 100, 000 Germans a year who run away from this place as well as their most famous sons and daughters....Boris Becker, Claudia Schiffer, Michael Schumacher and Heidi Klum to come back too. H)Half the German population are medically certified as depressed. SO,STOP BLAMING IMMIGRANTS. BLAME THE SYTEM. SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH IT AND IT'S AFFECTIONG THE GERMANS TOO.
03:15 October 17, 2010 by ami-in-mainz
This benighted Seehofer is the same politician who as *Health* Minister led the German fight against the EU's limiting advertising of tobacco products, saying that he didn't think that such advertising led to negative health consequences! Either he has no integrity or no Verstand.
04:34 October 17, 2010 by Gretl
I hate to see so much argument over foreign religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions of the Semites, people of the Arabian penisula, not of Europeans. Jews and Muslims brought their religion with them when they immigrated to Europe over various periods in Europe's history, Christianity was imposed upon the masses by its rulers, some of which were my ancestors. For my ancestors part in it, I would like to apologize. But it is ALL foreign. Either jettison religion completely, or go back to a more organic religion like Asatru. The folk practices are still maintained, albeit under cover of Christianity, but they are still there: the mai baums at May Day, the St Michael's fires near Summer Solstice, etc.

I think every society "gathers the wagons" when times are tough. It is easier to ignore the "different" people when they aren't a noticeable burden on society. When times are hard, everyone looks at their household budgets to cut the fat, and then onto their national budgets. I think every society protects itself first, and it is completely rational. If the Turks had done a better job of integrating into German society, then there would be no question of them being a part of society that was being protected. Americans are similarly going after Hispanics who are often illegal immigrants and when they are legal, often do not integrate into society. The Japanese, who revere conformity, have a great saying for this, "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down." If you want to fit into a society and be included in its protection, don't be the nail that sticks up."
09:55 October 17, 2010 by tallady
Dinhopilot..I am not coming down on you for this one..but in all fairness, your not painting all Germans with this brush,are you?I am married to a German and have many German friends,, I see another side of this society that you do not appear to.I see some of what you described also but lets not "Generalize"
11:35 October 17, 2010 by michael4096
"Most Germans are racist and ignorant and do not intergrate with other (esp non-European) foreigners."

@nyags - You calling this statement "simple fact" says far more about you than the 40 million germans you are painting
12:51 October 17, 2010 by Feodora
1.we are foreigner is 99% of the world.

2. I respect other views as long as those views dont stop me from my way of living

3. All religions are the same, only the expression ist different. The all believe that there is something overseeing (maybe controlling) whats going on, the people make the difference not the faith.
13:49 October 17, 2010 by wenddiver
Immigration is a Problem, many of the new people that have moved into the Spreewald refuse to learn the language or Local customs. Sorbische isn't that hard to learn, so after several hundred years why are we still hearing people speaking German in Cottbus and Bautzen,, even our University towns like Leipzig???? Is it too much to ask that people worship our eight faced God or participate in the throwing of the Catholic Priests down the well!!!! No, no, no!!! We should demand more respect from these glorified Franks that have moved here. Learn Sorbische and try to pick up some Wend customs or go back to your Holy Roman Empire.

If you don't control immigration, you are going to end up Foreigners (like the Sorbs) in your own land. Limit immigration and demand that people who intend to stay try to aasimulate.
13:54 October 17, 2010 by michael4096
@anaidross - many things in muslim theocracies don't gel with modern secular thought. Surely, the issue is do we stamp up and down like some petulant child changing our own behaviour 'in retaliation' or do we just get on with life and leave them to it?

Obviously, when it comes to our security, we must protect ourselves when actually threatened. However, most issues such as the ones you mention don't affect our security or anybody outside the countries concerned. It doesn't matter how barbaric you think it is, you can only make things worse by trying to do something about it. Like living with an unruly teenager, laying down the law from the outside or worse acting like a petulant teenager yourself in 'retaliation' does far more harm than good

Living the ideals we would all like and allowing the majority within other countries to make up their own minds about what they want will bring more security than always preaching how evil they are and how righteous we
14:15 October 17, 2010 by wenddiver
They don't need to learn our Western languages, we can communicate by Predator Drone.
14:34 October 17, 2010 by supernova
Okay let the Nostradamus predict, the rising Islamophobia in this country brings us back to the same stage of intolerance & hatred like in time of Hitler. Again civilized nations who practice the idea of tolerant multicultural societies intervene and waste their time on civilizing Germans and will try to make Gerrys less hateful.

Allah bless Germany and make Germans less hateful by cleaning hatred from German blood.
17:07 October 17, 2010 by nparry
There is no harm in Germans asking "foreigners" to assimilate and integrate better. Islamic countries require non-Islamic folks to assimilate quickly or else. So why all the fuss? I say that the world is paying too much attention to the Islamic problem and in particular, Germans seem to be obsessed with it. Perhaps, anit-semitism or general xenophobia was always under the radar in Germany and it's now coming out in the open in full glory after a hiatus of nearly 60 years. Like most Western nations, Germany is on the slope down towards decline and decay. It starts first with the youth.
17:46 October 17, 2010 by supernova
@nparry: Your comments trigger lack of knowledge and ignorance. Okay lets start it from first class: ASSIMILATION & INTEGRATION are two different things:

Assimilation means expecting the exact clone of yourself religiously, culturally and mentally seen.

Integration means speaking the language, knowing your rights and getting along with folks.

Civilized nations don't expect folks to assimilate and live the idea that everyone is unique and lets keep it that way.

This is eaxctly where Germans miss the point.

I hereby leave an open end to this story with 5 Oscars!
20:42 October 17, 2010 by supernova
@Hech54: Well said buddy, Germans need guys like us to eliminate the mentality of the racist otherwise slowly they will demand immigrant not to walk the same foot paths like they did in 40s.

Moral of the story, tough guys can eliminate racism from Germany. Be tough immigrants, integrate but do not assimilate and fight back the racist!
21:53 October 17, 2010 by wood artist
I agree completely. However, I think one of the problems which must be considered is that Islam APPEARS to be different than many other religions.

In most western countries, the bulk of the religions are largely "a part" of a person's life. They go to church on Sunday, perhaps a pray meeting on some other day, and celebrate some religious holidays. If their children attend a church-sponsored school, then there are some additional things because of that. That is, more or less, the norm.

However, from the outside, Islam appears to dictate every aspect of life for Muslims. They must attend prayers multiple times every day. They must adhere to many other rules that regulate their lives. In a pure sense, religion is not divorced at all from the rules of society, i.e. Sharia Law.

While this is merely (and I use that word very carefully) a part of their religion, it appears to outsiders like they are overly controlled by their church. Respect for their beliefs and customs is tough when they appear "so different" than other religions.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with any of those beliefs. Other than pure quantity, they are no different than orthodox sidelocks or a woman or man covering their head when entering a church/synagogue. The real problem is that it is so hard to see past those things.

Also, at least from my own observations, Islam in general has done little to de-mystify things. That's the fault of no one, yet I think it remains another element in the problem.

Lastly, and I don't know how to fix this, after the attacks of September 11 we heard little from the greater Islamic community. Perhaps they were stunned, as we all were. Perhaps it seemed like a good time to keep a very low profile...and, honestly, it probably was. However, had some prominent Islamic representative denounced the attacks it would have changed the opinions of many. Since the linkage was portrayed, there needed to be some effort to break that link. Most of us heard nothing.

wa
23:16 October 17, 2010 by giltedged
Germans have a right to let whoever they want to live in their country and whom not to let in.

Foreigners should not be allowed to interfere with this right and should be disregarded.

People have found out, by various means, that most people who criticise Europeans or Americans in respect of banned veils, minarets, Saudi-funded mosques and immigration, and pretending to be atheists, Poles, British, Germans or whatever are in actual fact Pakistanis living in Britain.

Germans feeling insulted by such contributions should be aware of the source.
11:17 October 18, 2010 by wiserthanmos
@supernova

If you don't want to assimilate, may be one day they will decimate, eliminate or terminate your immigration status and send you straight home, whereever heaven that you came from!
13:27 October 18, 2010 by mehta_p
Muslims and other immigrants: Germany is neither yours not mines. So let Germans so german ministers decide what they can do best for Germany.

Germany has seen many immigrants (especially less educated and most conservative) not responding to their investments.

(investment = time and money) Very less return on investments.

Germans gave their hands to help refugees, less qualified immigrants and now those people are holding german-passports and want to cut legs of Germans to create their kingdom here. Especially muslims are fighting for rights. which rights - don't know.

Good to see many ministers are having same thoughts about those immigrants who are here since years and can't properly make their next generation like Germans. If flows remains same, germany won't keep developing in the same way which is developing since years.

Germans can come closer to immigrants but for that you have to come closer atkeast a step. Adopt their language, their way of living, way of celebrating festivals-events, way of working etc.

If immigrants stay conservative, Germany won't be profitable even after making life of immigrants better.
14:53 October 18, 2010 by amelie_l
But why is it so? Because people are nasty or because arab people are making problem everywhere? Why isn't such a so called rascism toward chinese, american and other kind of immigrants?

Most of violence I've seen in Paris were I lived 8 years was coming from black and arab people. It was not a question of religion, or a question of poverty, or not only, it was simply a question of perception of the relationship between people and particularly between men and women that is completely opposite to our values here in Europe.

They are not all aggressive and macho, and not always at the same level, most aggressive behaviors I witnessed were not crossing the borders of the law, but they were enough disturbing to make me try to avoid those people as much as possible, and wish that they were less of them in my country.

The more the people were educated, or at least intelligent, and the less I could witness such disturbing behaviors. So that is definitely not a question of "race", but a question of culture.
17:57 October 18, 2010 by nparry
Islamic immigrants to Germany better be aware that when you leave your homelands to settle in Germany or any non-Islamic country, you may very well have to leave behind your rituals, customs, Sharia laws, etc. etc., howevery benign or barbaric they may be. You cannot just come over to any country and demand the practice of Sharia Law. Either you adjust or you don't come at all. Do they allow open practice of other religions in Saudi Arabia? This is a Germany that is going insular and violent day by day. The only future you'll portend is that of violence and a return to Fascism, blessed amply by third-rate politicians. This well may be the case all over Europe now.
02:33 October 20, 2010 by Bruno53
I agree. Somebody should show this article, in German, to Frau Merkel. Herr Fuhrer Hitler and Dr.Goebbels: your descendants aren't much better as we can see.
11:50 October 20, 2010 by michael4096
Er, American511 - I think you got the wrong country. Spanish spoken here more than arabic - you don't need to change your predjudices just for us
10:27 October 21, 2010 by delvek
I will be happy when the Great War finally comes and puts this stupid arguement to rest.
21:24 October 21, 2010 by Joshontour
So Germans keep talking about integration, but to what extent are they themselves keeping us from integrating. I have an example, and this is just one of many, but due to time constraints I'll stick to this one.

I moved here with my German wife in August of 2007 at the time my son was 2 years old, he was born in the US but spoke fairly good German at the time. He turned 3 in October 2007 and in January 2008 we put him in Kindergarten. By the end of 2008 his German was on par with his age group. This year when we put him in 1st grade there was something on the first day of school that every parent in my son's class noticed... All the kids were immigrants, not a single German child. Be it Turkish, Russian, Italian, Polish, American, etc... all of the students in this class were immigrant children. The school told us parents that it has nothing to do with their status as immigrants, but rather, their difficulty with the German language. I know most of the kids personally, having seen them in my son's Kindergarten for the past two years, having gone "Laterne laufen," and doing other various activities with them and their parents. None of them have difficulty with the language, on the contrary, some of the "real German" parents didn't even know, until they were told, that these kids were immigrants (except the Turkish, but that's due to skin color and not language difficulty) Also, come on, they think the kids have a language deficiency, so instead of being able to interact with real German kids, they are left to interact with other kids with language deficiencies. Way to help them learn the language! So these kids are excluded from integrating at an early age, the parents are excluded from rubbing shoulders with German parents, and Germans are left wondering why immigrants cannot integrate into German culture.
14:29 October 22, 2010 by soisoisoi
@Joshontour

I don't get your example, to be honest.

If Germans are surprised, because there are children who speak the language so well, it is not a bad thing. You can be surprised in a positive way.

Do those German parents forbid their children to play with other children?
21:30 October 22, 2010 by wxman
BIG, BIG difference. This is a false analogy. The Jews did nothing to hurt anyone or draw the ire and suspicion of the host country.
00:00 October 23, 2010 by Hunt2871
"You have every right to NOT have anything to do with ANY religion. However, you must respect others rights to hold different views to you."

There is nothing that requires one to respect people who have different views, especially when those views are simply wrong. The islamofacists would have any non-muslim dead yesterday of they had the ability to do so. I do not have to respect this culture of death any more than I have to respect the view of a flat-earther or someone who denies that gravity exists.The soone the world gets past this type of mentality that all view points are valid the sooner we can get rid of these murdering criminals and get on with life.
14:30 October 24, 2010 by crm114
@Hunt2871 Touché
13:18 October 26, 2010 by Wojaja
Comment: Joshontour's encounter relates rather to the german way of schooling and its miracles. Well meant (in most cases) it is turning out odd consequences on occassion. There is a tendency to set at the least common denominator - in that case 'outlandish' - rather then going by abilities or skills. I would rather log that under "the way to hell is paved with good intentions" than taking it as an intentional anti-integration effort. It is though highlighting a systematic shortcomming of Germany's educational system. It was, if ever, realized much to late that social integration is in huge parts related to education - and that goes for natives and immigrants alike. Irritable as such insannity might be it is a "luxury problem" though, affecting those immigrants which are getting themselfs enganged in and with german society. These active participants are usualy holding some intellectual, professional or educational recources of their own, as well as some social skills which are compatible to german habits. Those immigrants however which are not familiar even with basic educational virtues such as literacy would - similar to those locals which got alienated from the same - neither encounter nor recognize such stumblin' blocks. Having a common language, be that german or whichever, sure helps to navigate through daily life sociably. Still I tend to believe that shared knowledge and/or common sense is as essential for effective communication, be that across cultural, social or ethnic groups. As an Istanbul born turkish colleage is saying: Talking in german to a Bajuwarian buisiness contact is, even so difficile due to the marked dialect, still easier for him than communication with an east-anatolian shepherd in turkish do to the exessive cultural gap.
12:46 October 27, 2010 by Wabit
I am sometimes asked, ¦quot;Is there a God?¦quot; Well, I would hesitate to call myself a confirmed atheist, yet I believe that the existence or absence (or presence) of God is something which cannot be proven by logic or reasoning. Rather, I would say that in the absence of proof to the positive, I see no point in adhering to an organised theology surrounding something we cannot possibly know. Every organised religion supports arguments and quotes divine revelations showing them to be the one true religion, but they can¦#39;t all be right. It is possible, however, that they are all wrong.
17:37 October 27, 2010 by Wabit
Many thousands of years ago there was no religion of any kind, but then came 'Fire' and along with it came the first stirrings of some kind of belief. Today these same beliefs are full blown and very sophisticated thus not fully understandable by everyone.

I sometimes wish we could put out the Fire......
18:18 October 29, 2010 by Dashcroft
^ I wish we could put out religion and stupidity.
15:31 October 30, 2010 by Bruno53
Excuse me, but scientists have discovered that neanderthal man had some "spiritual" concept of the world. Their bones were found with simple objects and ornaments.
00:59 October 31, 2010 by anthonyzzz
Is it not a muslims responsibility, but ours. to make muslims tolerable?

HAH
20:42 October 31, 2010 by Ich
Let me be painfully clear here ­if we are in no way equating the persecution Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis with the anti-Muslim sentiment now simmering in modern, democratic Germany, then what was 90% of this article about??????
14:10 November 3, 2010 by Wabit
Belief is stronger than truth. Yet truth will free you from the limitations of belief. If only people would listen...(sigh).
22:18 November 22, 2010 by colombowayne
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:47 December 30, 2010 by Domdeone
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
05:43 September 12, 2012 by bob searcy
my dad , a christian zealot, described anyone who didnt believe as he did as an infidel. i cannot differentiate between his phobia and that of radical islam. i think all religion is a disease of the mind. i can certainly appreciate the attempt at seperation of church and state in the usa yet even here we are forever oppressed with laws emulating from religious zealots. im nonreligious and consider the lot of you to be deluded and dangerous to mankind..
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Germany's capital and its gateway to the North Sea each released details of their Olympic bids on Monday as the race for the 2024 or 2028 summer games nominations picks up momentum. READ  

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs
Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag on Monday as her ministers look on. Photo: DPA

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag on Monday to explain her government's decision to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighting terrorist group Isis. READ  

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees
DPA

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees

UNHCR Commissioner Antonio Guterres is lauding Germany's role in accommodating the influx of refugees in Europe, while pointing at the imbalance of effort within the EU. The federal government has pledged to do more. READ  

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome
Photo: DPA

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome

Starting on Monday, vacuum cleaners drawing more than 1600 watts can no longer be brought into Germany. The ban is part of a an EU-wide environmental protection measure. READ  

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote
CDU leader Stanislav Tillich with SPD Martig Dulig. Photo: DPA

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party is in search of a new partner after the expulsion of its former allies the Free Democrats (FDP) from the Saxon state parliament. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation
Photo: Phorms Education

Bilingual education from nursery to graduation

A network of German based schools is changing how students learn languages by introducing English and Deutsch from day one, with the method yielding impressive academic results. The Local finds out more about Phorms Education. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'German bosses need to praise more'
More of this? Photo: Shutterstock

'German bosses need to praise more'

What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice. READ  

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA

Train drivers take their turn to strike

A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. READ  

State budget in surplus despite weak exports
Germany isn't sending as many goods abroad as at the beginning of the year. Photo: DPA

State budget in surplus despite weak exports

GDP fell by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 but state coffers are doing well, the Federal Office of Statistics Destatis announced on Monday. READ  

Anti-euro breakthrough
Anti-euro AfD nears 10 percent in state election
AfD politicians Hans-Olaf Henkel MEP and leader Bernd Lucke, celebrate the party's success in Saxony on Sunday. Photo: Daniel Naupold/DPA

Anti-euro AfD nears 10 percent in state election

UPDATED: Germany's anti-euro party, AfD, won its first seats in a state parliament on Sunday after elections in Saxony, according to preliminary results. READ  

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