• Germany's news in English
 
Official blames Sarrazin for hindering integration
Photo: DPA

Official blames Sarrazin for hindering integration

Published: 30 Aug 2011 11:05 GMT+02:00

“Perceptions and realities are further apart than ever, one year after the release of the Sarrazin book,” Maria Böhmer told Tuesday’s edition of Berlin’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper. “That is a result of the distorted picture painted by Sarrazin, which consciously blanks out the progress in integration that has been made.”

She said that many immigrants who were willing to integrate felt offended and excluded by Sarrazin’s contention that Muslims were largely incompatible with German society.

“We need a lively and objective discussion about integration. Neither horror scenarios nor rose-tinted visions help us get any further,” she added. “The aim has to be to strengthen trust between native-born people and immigrants.”

Sarrazin’s book Deutschland schafft sich ab - Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen or “Germany Abolishes Itself - How we’re putting our country in jeopardy” sparked a hurricane of media debate when it was released last year. It sold 1.3 million copies and made Sarrazin a ubiquitous guest on TV debate shows for several months.

The book also divided the country, sparking increasingly extreme criticism and support. Even one of Sarrazin’s biggest political supporters Heinz Buschkowsky, mayor of Berlin’s largely immigrant district Neukölln, told the Der Tagesspiegel, “Sarrazin pointed out problems that are unquestionable – but he also helped to polarize integration policy. The debate has become even more hysterical and inquisitorial in the past year.”

Hilmi Kaya Turan, spokesman for the Berlin Brandenburg Turkish Association (TBB), told the paper, “His book contributed to the general uncertainty of people with an immigrant background. They felt like they were being made scapegoats.”

Berlin Social Affairs Minister Carola Bluhm agreed: “The debate around Sarrazin’s book has damaged integration and hurt a lot of people, and it’s done nothing at all for our city.”

Sarrazin himself remains unrepentant one year on. In a recent interview for news weekly Die Zeit, he said the past year had made him “harder.”

“After the past year, I’ve started to understand how the Soviet Union forced false confessions from its prisoners in the Stalin era,” he said. “You only have to isolate people long enough and keep making accusations, and at the end they admit the craziest things.”

Sarrazin’s book has also had an effect on the academic studies, according to Klaus Eder, sociology professor at Berlin’s Humboldt University. He said statistical research has now become “more careful,” because Sarrazin had “abused” many statistics to support his theses. “The trends that Sarrazin describes don’t exist,” he said.

Eder said that since Sarrazin’s book was published, sociological studies now express more caution about predicting developments based on their statistics.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers
A demo in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. File photo: DPA

Xenophobia thrives in shadow of Berlin towers

There's little to break the monotony of communist-era apartment blocks stretching across Marzahn-Hellersdorf, an east Berlin satellite district that has gained national notoriety for a spate of anti-foreigner protests. READ  

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat
Photo: DPA

Ecuador returns German money in oil valley spat

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Saturday that Quito would be giving back about $8.5 million donated by Germany last year, in an environmental row. READ  

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,165
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd