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Merkel urged to lead integration debate

DDP/The Local · 7 Feb 2010, 09:56

Published: 07 Feb 2010 09:56 GMT+01:00

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The chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD), Kenan Kolat, warned young migrants urgently needed a stronger “sense of belonging” and offered to arrange a landmark event for migrants that Merkel could attend.

He made a similar offer two years ago after the visit to Germany by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but nothing has come of it.

“People need a sense of being at home – and to feel included,” Kolat said.

Erdogan won accolades from his visit to Germany two years ago because he came as “someone who cared” and told Germany’s Turkish community that he was here for them, Kolat said.

Though Erdogan was criticised in some quarters for appealing directly to the Turkish community – seen as interference in Germany’s affairs – Kolat said it merely showed the “weakness of integration policy in Germany.”

“I’d wished myself that the Chancellor could have given such a performance,” he said.

Kolat also warned of rising Islamophobia.

“When I read the commentary on internet forums about statements by myself or other migrants, there is sometimes a clear fury that frightens me."

Islamic Council chairman, Ali Kizilkaya, joined the call, saying a greater involvement from the Chancellor was needed, especially after high-profile issues such as the debate on banning minarets had shaken up the Muslim community.

Kizilkaya said many Muslims felt unsettled by the minaret-ban debate that happened in Germany after Switzerland voted in a referendum to ban construction of the distinctive towers that form a key part of a mosque. It would be a powerful gesture if Merkel were to play a stronger role in countering prejudice, he said.

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Merkel has faced widespread criticism since her re-election in September of being too distant and too quiet on matters of national importance.

She held an "integration summit" in 2007, though most commentators considered it a failure, partly because many immigrant groups boycotted the meeting.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:21 February 7, 2010 by Hondo
This Muslim Agent has the process and his priorities backwards. It is not the responsibility of Germany to accommodate Muslim immigrants, it is the responsibility of Muslim immigrants to assimilate to German Society. If Muslim immigrants can not or will not assimilate to German Society as their host country, then they need to go back to their home country. Are Germans immigrating to Saudi Arabia and demanding that the Arabs accommodate them and their religious needs? No. Saudi Arabia has banned all construction of Christian Churches and does not tolerate non-Muslims.

Why is it that massive illegal (and a very small percentage of legal) immigration is only occurring in Europe and not in Middle Eastern countries? Simple answer. Europeans are not standing up for their own culture.
14:50 February 7, 2010 by pepsionice
The key thing here....is that all of these Muslim folks left to find a new and better life....and their expectation after a couple of years....rather than integrate.....is to get their old values and problems from the old country....and recast everything in that light (note: that was why they left).

I would strongly urge anyone....who stands there and wants their host country to accept them.....to simply get in step, learn the language, get into right path of education and simply give your old life. It won't work as long as you hold onto this dream of "German-Islam".
16:16 February 7, 2010 by T Gonzaga
To the excellent comments by Hondo and Pepsionice, I would like to add the following:

As an "immigrant" to America, I arrived with the recognition that asimilation is not capitulation. Birthplace means nothing and heritage is only a small part of us, because nurture is everything. While acceptance from the host country is important, much more important for us immigrants to take the initiative, leave the "old world" behind and accept the democratic values of our host. This world is certainly better than the one we left, otherwise...why are we here????????

Herein lies the problem with many of the new immigrants to the West. In many instances, they refuse to integrate because they have arrived with a cultural/religious disdain for democracy, for gender equality, for tolerance and for freedom of speech. These fundamental civil rights are seen as "dirty weaknesses" of the host Nation and worthy of contempt. The result: medieval enclaves flourish and blossom into fortresses where democracy is excluded. The West's continued indifference, political correctness and appeasement merely fuel the further spread of dogma and intolerance. Obvious to most of us, it's time for democracies around the world to demand assimilation or ultimately, as in the American novel "Up Dog Street", our democracies will merely serve as sacrificial host upon which these autocratic dogmas will feed and eventually consume us, leaving only the bones of former enlightenment.
23:49 February 7, 2010 by Edin
@ Hondo: "it is the responsibility of Muslim immigrants to assimilate to German Society"... you sound like Borg in Star Trek "YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED...." So you must think like Borg, behave like Borg be just Borg or else....

Hitler knew this was not possible with Jews and did what he did, so I wonder what happens when you guys realize the same??????

Same goes to other two comments.
03:51 February 8, 2010 by euroamerican
@edin: so any natural resistance by Germans and Europeans to the growing numbers of non-Europeans is equal to being a Nazi. In Saudi Arabia there are no Christian churches allowed. Women from wherever they come from have to wear the veil. And that is as it should be. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". But apparently no longer. Germans suffered two world wars and that experience really affected them deeply. When this experience is combined with the ideology of political correctness and multiculturalism that has been foisted upon the West then it's almost impossible for there to be any vigorous defense of their Heimat. Germany is the Heimat of the Germans. If non-Germans don't respect that, and don't adapt to that then they should pack their bags and leave. We have the same problem here in the USA with the illegal immigrants. "Todo por la Raza, fuera de la Raza nada". Anti-racism is just another code word for anti-white. Time for white people to wake up!
21:00 February 8, 2010 by Hondo
@Edin.. Wow, you are really lost. Go back and watch your television some more like a good Drone -the TV will tell you what to do next.
14:31 February 9, 2010 by Frenemy
Wow! This is exactly the kind of commentary I would expect when one combines geopolitics, domestic religious-tolerance policy...and a Trekie!!

But...I'll bite: "So you must think like Borg, behave like Borg be just Borg or else"?!

Or else what exactly? You'll pull an Islamist Capt. Picard move on the rest of us Europeans??!!
08:39 February 10, 2010 by Talonx
If germany has learned anything from the fall of the wall it should be that integration is a two way process. You can't force a square into a round hole, so maybe you sand up the square a little and cut the round hole a little, this is the problem that any nation that recieves immigrants has. Unwillingness on either side of the equation is bad and leads to resentment on the other side.

Germany has currently some very good policies in place (temporary visas contingent upon attending language schools), but also some very poor ones (no mandate an turkish or even english speaking workers at the immigration offices). The whole situation could be made better quite easily. People just need to understand that at the end of the day we are all people and deserve a measure of respect, if you can't understand that your society is pathological and doomed from the get go.

I witnessed an interaction on the Bahn the other day that absolutely blew my mind and increased my trust about 10-fold. An older turkish man that had obviously been in germany for a while was sitting down talking to a younger turkish man, they both apparently came from the same region, but the younger man had really just arrived. They were discussing Germany and Europe and at one point the older man said 'the greatest thing about germany is that everybody is theoretically treated the same, the've decided that all men, woman and even gays should have rights and jobs,' at the naming of this last group the young man laughed derisively, and the old man responded, 'no you shouldn't laugh, whether or not you agree with gays, that is the critical point, the critical difference, what makes germany so great, that's why I'm here and why you should want to be here.' The young man quite laughing and asked if he would really be treated equally. I didn't catch the old man's answer, but perusing through articles such as this, I wonder at that answer myself, though most of you are probably just unidimensional racist americans and not germans, so maybe you just make the outlook look worse than it is.
12:36 February 10, 2010 by Euro22
It is clear reading this - that the Muslim community is not offering anything in the way of assimilation - what they are saying is they expect Merkel to call the objectors to the resistance to integration by the Turks - racist.

But EU governments have all tried calling anyone who objects to political Islam racist - and it has not worked - largely because Muslim want extra or special rights or demand that certain rights be overturned - under the Shari'a - and are happy to have those who opposes their political aims - racists - fascists and various other terms.

And likely this would not work.

The assimilations of the Muslim community could be easy ~ though it will take time ~ stop the foreign marriages and protect the women and apostates from attack - and change nothing else. In other words ensure equal rights and so on - as in a free society that is all you get!
15:52 February 10, 2010 by Talonx
Assimilation is not the same thing as integration. 'Assimilation' means to force someone to be like you and is a unidirectional process, whereas 'integration' means to fit something new in and is a two way process.

Assimilation doesn't sound to democratic to me, sound rather fascistic actually. Fortunately, the German government and the German people have settled on the latter of the two options and don't want to force anything so much as help the melding of cultures along.

I think you may be confused on this point Euro22. Regardless, you bring up a good point, what do the Turkish offer for their side of the integration equation. While, most of them speak German or are learning German (I don't think I've ever met a Turk that didn't have some proficiency), the build successful business that the German government is able to tax, they have organized various gemeinde that are set up to help new arrivals understand German culture better. If you're from Germany, Euro22, I would guess that this is well beyond anything you have done to help out integration.

As far as your conflation of 'political Islam' and being from Turkey, bravo, for calling yourself out as a racist (in the very least an essentialist). Despite what you may believe a persons personality and beliefs and where they come from aren't the same thing.

As for the last bit you write about violence, the last religiously motivated attack I remember in Germany was a Christian man killing a Muslim woman. I'm no fan of religion but, please, stop calling the kettle black, it's just annoying and dishonest.
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