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De Maizière calls for more tolerance towards immigrants

The Local · 20 Sep 2010, 16:41

Published: 20 Sep 2010 16:41 GMT+02:00

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Speaking to the daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung, de Maizière said there needed to be a “culture of welcoming” in Germany that the government could not provide on its own. He said though immigrants needed to make greater efforts to integrate, Germans also needed to recognise the contributions of foreigners.

“Without immigration, combined with openness and tolerance, our country would be much poorer,” he said. “Fearmongering isn’t valid. We have to invest in building trust between people.”

The conservative Christian Democrat de Maizière also said Islam was “rooted” in Germany and there shouldn’t be neither “prejudice nor euphemisms” in the current debate about the integration of Muslims in German society sparked by former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin.

“Successful integration is determined by several factors. Most important is the personal responsibility of the immigrant,” he said. “We must demand this.”

The head of the centre-left opposition Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, told the website of news magazine Der Speigel on Monday that Germany should take a tougher line with those immigrants unwilling to make an effort to integrate into society.

“Whoever continually rejects integration offers cannot stay in Germany – just like preachers of hatred in mosques paid from abroad,” he said.

Gabriel also said the country’s politicians had to take Germans’ concerns about safety seriously.

“Where there are criminal flash points, regardless of whether they are German or foreign, we need a stronger police presence on the ground,” he said, explaining that integration had to be bolstered by better language offerings, family centres, as well as all-day schools and trainee programmes.

But he also said integration success stories needed better promotion.

“Germany can be proud that so many children from guest worker families are now scientists, skilled workers, or entrepreneurs,” Gabriel said.

Story continues below…

The SPD leader also defended the decision to kick Sarrazin out of the party because of his inflammatory rhetoric against Muslim immigrants.

“His theories are a mixture in the tradition of racial purity from the 1920s,” he said.


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Your comments about this article

21:02 September 20, 2010 by Beachrider
I usually wait for some Europeans to comment before I write...

I don't know how well-received this comment will be within Germany. Immigration is much more sensitive when the people that already live there are trying to stabilize their society. Immigration always recasts the society. Immigrants are expected to give-in to the people that already live in a country, but they expect to bring something to that society, as well.

I hope that the Germans find a way to handle this. Although the USA has had reasonable success in getting people to do-business in one Language, it is clear that immigrants keep their own language for home-use or neighborhood-use for multiple generations after immigrating.
21:21 September 20, 2010 by JohnPaul44
Immigrants who refuse to accept and adopt the language and customs of the host country are not immigrants, they are invaders!
22:38 September 20, 2010 by JohnPaul44
The language I have found most difficult to learn is Liberal New-Speak. The problem with that language is that many of the words look like common English words, but have very different meanings. For example, my old dictionary still defines a society as "A group of human beings broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a COMMON CULTURE."

The liberals urge us to "celebrate cultural diversity." It almost sounds as if they were advocating the destruction of society, doesn't it? But that can't be true! I just haven't learned the language yet.
01:58 September 21, 2010 by dankoehler
More tolerance? Hasn't Europe and Germany bent over backwards, payed trillions to educate, assimilate, and turn the other cheek to crime? Let me ask this: Do liberals EVER learn? Europe is losing it's future!!
02:32 September 21, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
I love how every immigration posting on The Local gets hijacked, largely, by americans, who turn it into a liberal vs. conservative issue, when it's really not. I have to suspect the motivation is to find support for the brand of ultra-right-wing neo-conservative non-sense that's becoming so popular in the USA, but I don't rightly know.

Anyway, as for the actual topic; I think the point that most people are missing is the question of desire. I think most Germans are pretty satisfied with the status quo of our society, and don't want to allow for a significant amount of change from the outside. That is a perfectly reasonable position, and one that is rarely addressed.
02:42 September 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Der Grenadier --

You've hit the nail on the head.

Pope JohnPaul --

I'm an immigrant.. I've made 5 (count 'em) films in this country that have been distributed with substantial success.. Many German people were generously compensated as a result of my work. My German sucks, but my German wife is a gifted translator and cherished partner. Am I an invader according to your paradigm?
05:41 September 21, 2010 by JohnPaul44

It doesn't sound like it, but it doesn't sound like you are a typical immigrant either, My "paradigm" is those who refuse to integrate. With a German wife, you are already about as "integrated" as you can get. If she can put up with you, I guess Germany can.

By the way, I am not really a Pope, but you can kiss my ring.
08:34 September 21, 2010 by ww77ww
If one (claims to) bring in money, then all problems are solved?

Germany has done more than enough to appease the new residents. This is a two way street. Either adapt to norms demanded by the hosts, or go home.
08:57 September 21, 2010 by OkieinBerlin
What a surprise! More unsubstantiated garbage from the immigrant-haters! Beachrider, I am the American grandson of immigrants to the USA, and I had to re-learn their European language because my parents failed to pass it on to me -- and this experience was common among all my friends with similar family histories. Your claims about "multiple generations" are bullshit. John Paul and wxman, as soon as you can put forth some real evidence demonstrating the imminent collapse of European civilization, I'll take your concerns a bit more seriously.
09:19 September 21, 2010 by catjones
I like my problems to be simple, my choices binary and my positions extreme.
10:41 September 21, 2010 by peter douglas
i support the notion that immigrants who refuse to intergrate .don,t make an effort to learn the language of the host country should be kicked out.reason i just took my einbügerungstest in mitte and the questions asked are not so difficult when you really live here but to my suprise people from one particular immigrant society which i will not mention just wen,t about cheating in the whole process, we had two weeks to prepare for that and all 300 questions can be found online i just don,t get it why someone can,t a few minutes just to get the basic idea of how the system you live in functions.
11:02 September 21, 2010 by michael4096

You summarize the position of the germans but immigrants are people too. They seem to be comfortable with their language and customs while still adhering to the law of the land and making a positive contribution to the country.

Why should germans be more equal than others? Just because their grandfathers were germans?
11:42 September 21, 2010 by raandy
OkieinBerlin,,My grandparents also were immigrants to America,,When I asked my Grandfather why he did not teach my father the language,He replied "We are Americans and we speak English in this country"
11:44 September 21, 2010 by psykos
Woow what a definition of Integration by a German @Mr. JohnPaul44, If somebody only has German wife, he is a certified as "Integrated" and somebody with Engineering degree from Germany, working as an Engineer here (that means he has good German language skills) is not becaz his wife takes scarf, he doesnt eat schwein. Go get a life n define integration better for ur own sake.

Its a 2 way thing, if Immigrants need Germany so does Germany.
13:35 September 21, 2010 by truespirit
Rather than commenting on something that I might think is going on, I would rather just state my own experience:

I am from India, under 30 years of age. I came here a year ago for the first time with a job in my hands,and with a pretty good salary. My company, a German profit center of an Italian firm, patiengly undertook the hazzle of seeing through 5 months of paperwork and redtape for the work permit and visa to get me here. My company has over 95 % germans but average age is above 45 years. Any one care to think why my company took the pain to bring me here.

If the company had been able to find a german candidate with half my qualification and experience in this field for the previous 3 years, I wouldnt have been here.

So I am inclined to believe that my company needs me. All my collegues are simply great, never show partiality between me and the others, may be because they have travelled, seen the world, and they rate people based on "the content of their character".

Here in this discussion, I could frankly feel the hate against Immigrants. And ofcourse when one say immigrants in germany, which people they are exactly talking about.

Integration is not a one sided activity, there is no way that the immigrants can forget 100% of their tradition or to forget their past and language. Integration must be a two sided activity, with the locals showing the same effort to accomodate the immigrants, as the immigrants should show to adapt to their new home. Integration can only happen, if the immigrants feel at home and are motivated by the occupants of that home. Integration should be seen as a state of peaceful being of all parties showing respect to others beliefs.

The funny thing is all the germans I personelly know of, have the same feeling as I do about Integration and believe in giving and taking respect. But the expression of the few who display their impatient frustration on immigrants overweigh the positive thoughts of the majority, and makes it sound as if all germans have a negetive feeling.

I can already see someone coming hard on me for putting down such a long, boring, partly emotion driven stanza, but that wouldnt hurt me.

Just wanted to say what I felt.
14:29 September 21, 2010 by Scuba Steve
John Paul, take yer Teabagger ultra-right-wing neo-conservative "liberal" bashing non-sense over to the Fox Channel where it belongs! I am American, and you don't speak for the majority of us. Wingnut! People like you are giving the rest of us a bad name.
22:30 September 21, 2010 by Talonx
@ der Grenadier aus Achen

What age group do you interact with. I don't mean this as an insult at all, but in my experience the young'ns here in Germanyland seem to be pretty open to immigration. Maybe their parents are a little sketchy on the issue. In any event, they may not like change, nobody does, but I've never met a German that was incapable of having a sensible conversation about immigration (cf. U.S.A.). What's confined to neo-nazis in Germany, seems to pass for normal sociopolotical discourse for many in the U.S..

@ raandy

Your grandfather denied your father the gift of being bilingual for a pretty dumb reason. Being bilingual is concomitant with a higher IQ.

@ Truespirit

I've had the same experience as you regarding how Germans treat foreigners and talk about the issue (i.e. reasonably and with humanity). To be perfectly honest, I've started reading a bit more untranslated German news and I think the real problem is that English news about Germany tends to be sensationalist.
01:27 September 22, 2010 by JohnPaul44
@ truespirit

My own experience in the US (from the other side) is similar. Before retiring, I worked for many years in a semi-professional field (technical) in the US which began hiring many young immigrants because qualified young Americans are increasing difficult to find. Several new hires coming into our group were obviously "different" from us, but as soon as they opened their mouths and spoke fluently about common intellectual interests, they suddenly became "people" and the differences vanished. Language and education are the key to successful integration!

@ Scuba Steve

Wow! If you think I am conservative, you have lived a very sheltered life. I am actually quite moderate, and distrust conservatives and liberals equally. You should hear me talk about the Bible-thumpers in American politics, or the liberal destruction of American public education!
14:51 September 22, 2010 by raandy

I think the reason at that time was Patriotism and pride,both have diminished a lot in years since then. The world was only your neighbor hood and county and State,news was only local. ..Now with communication what it is your correct...Born to early ..
16:50 September 22, 2010 by Beachrider

Wow, extreme one-dimensional thinking WILL lead to a lifetime of eventually apologizing. Don't start now, though.

FWIW I am NOT an immigrant hater.

Many/most USA immigrants keep the family language at home for one-or-more generations. Many immigrate to enclaves where an ancestral language is widely spoken in the neighborhood. Maybe it doesn't happen when you immigrate to Iowa, but BOS, NYC, PHL, CHI, MIA, NOL, DAL, LAX, SFO and SEA all have large parts where recent arrivals live in neighborhoods where ancestral languages are WIDELY spoken. The USA has more Spanish-language Radio & TV stations than the whole world combined
05:45 September 23, 2010 by JohnPaul44
I don't know about radio and TV stations, but it was reported a few years ago that at least two US states, California and New Mexico, had already become more than half non-English-speaking. That is bad enough, but it is also estimated that more than a million of those non-citizens somehow managed to vote in US elections! Maybe they couldn't read the ballot, but they had been well-coached by someone, and I don't believe it was by the Mexican government!
16:13 September 23, 2010 by Beachrider

You have made to hyperbolic and false scare-comments about California & New Mexico. It is fantasy that non-citizens are voting, NONE of them are. Those comments wouldn't make the scrap-heap of a Rush Limbaugh program plan.

My point (remember, this is about Germany) was that immigrants cannot be expected to simply stop-speaking their ancestral language. It is perfectly legal to require them to know English in certain legal, financial and governmental contexts.
10:08 September 25, 2010 by JohnPaul44

Hyperbolic? I never even mastered hyperbolic functions in mathematics!

False scare-comments? I live in California. I don't know about New Mexico.

. Legal to require them to know English? I worked for several years for a county in central California and ballots there were required to be printed in Spanish. I was told that it was a legal requirement. I wondered how a voter who couldn't read enough English to read a ballot could already be a US citizen, but I was told that it was illegal to ask, so how can you say that NONE of them are voting? I personally know that many non-English speakers are voting. They arrive by the truckload to register, and again to vote, with a foreman to direct them.

17:07 September 25, 2010 by Beachrider

...hyperbole "figures of speech that are exaggerated in order to create emphasis or effect". Maybe YOU need the English lesson because you continued to do it in your response. I feel that it is OK to do ballots in Spanish. That doesn't make the voter a non-citizen (AS YOU SAID). Citizenship-proof is required to register, so polling-place workers don't try to overdo their one-day job (sounds wise, given your assumptions). As to legal documents, California and other states have rules about laws, legally-binding contracts and public-licenses all needing to be enacted in English (THEY ARE), copies can be had in Spanish but the interpretation will be from the English-language one

Somehow, you are implying that California or New Mexico do voter registration the same day as an election, THEY DON'T. You are just spewing fact-challenged stuff one-after-another....
14:30 October 5, 2010 by dankworth
" Germany can be proud that so many children from guest worker families are now scientists, skilled workers, or entrepreneurs,¦quot; Gabriel said."

What proportion of the whole would that be?
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