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Schäuble says Islam is part of Germany

The Local · 22 Mar 2011, 13:15

Published: 22 Mar 2011 13:15 GMT+01:00

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“We have every interest in saying that Islam is a part of our country and in inviting Muslims to value what we have achieved in the Western World,” the Christian Democrat told the latest edition of political magazine Cicero.

Religion, faith, democracy and universal human rights are all compatible, he added.

Still, immigrants must strive to integrate in Germany, said Schäuble, who initiated the government’s Islam conference in 2006 while he was interior minister in attempt to promote a healthier dialogue with the approximately four million Muslims living in the country.

The recent suggestion by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tyyip Edogan to his countrymen – that they first learn Turkish, then German – was not helpful, Schäuble told the magazine.

Turks, many of whom came to Germany as so-called “guest workers” in the 1960s and 1970s, make up the country’s largest group of immigrants.

Schäuble also said he wasn’t worried that conservative Turks will seal their children off from German society.

“When you look at what young women from tradition-oriented families in particular achieve despite resistance from their families, and what power lies in this young generation, you can only marvel – and be happy,” he said.

In early March Germany's new interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, made the controversial statement that Islam did not “belong” in Germany because it lacked a historical foundation. The conservative Bavarian plans to meet with the Islam conference plenum next Tuesday.

Friedrich’s comments mirrored similar statements he made last autumn amid a rancorous debate over whether Muslim immigrants are capable of integrating into German society.

Story continues below…

The debate was sparked by former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin, who made a number of anti-immigrant statements aimed mainly at Turks and Arabs, coinciding with the publication of his controversial book Deutschland schafft sich ab - Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen, or “Abolishing Germany - How we’re putting our country in jeopardy.”

Friedrich was widely criticized by Muslim groups and even members of Chancellor Merkel's centre-right coalition for unnecessarily reigniting the country's acrid integration debate immediately after taking up the reins at the Interior Ministry.

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The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:36 March 22, 2011 by mhdamro
Finally .. some common sense .................
14:14 March 22, 2011 by freechoice
pop question, what is the need for integration when we are all similar?
14:32 March 22, 2011 by adipk
waaao , back to back good news and good decisions .

Well done Govt.....Go ahead
15:29 March 22, 2011 by Lars16102
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
15:38 March 22, 2011 by Simon_Kellett
> Germany was a better country when it was pure.

I never understood this kind of thinking. Even a quick reading of German history (or rather a history of lands that now form modern Germany) reveal that it has constantly be invaded/settled from all different directions, more so than the countries of say northern Europe and the UK.

But maybe by "pure" you mean a particular snapshot of Germany's constantly changing culture?
17:19 March 22, 2011 by Al uk
More pc clap trap. A sad day indeed.
17:36 March 22, 2011 by Altdude
Like it or not, we are all one.
17:38 March 22, 2011 by nolibs
Where Islam is practiced, you find discrimination and violence against women and non-Muslims. I'm pretty sure I don't want that to be "a part of Germany". So, when I can worship freely in Islamic countries without fear of being arrested or killed, I may consider Schäuble's misguided, if not naive, statement.

Why is a Finance Minister making public comments like these anyway? Shouldn't he be out trying to get our money back from banks?
17:41 March 22, 2011 by DrStrangelove
Historically, there is no close connection between Germany and Islam, so if "belonging" implies "belonging together historically" like Brandenburg and Berlin or sauerkraut and ham hock, then obviously Germany and Islam don't "belong". If on the other hand "belonging" only implies that a significant number of Islamic people are living in the country and are exercising their right to worship, then obviously Germany and Islam do "belong".

So it is just a silly argument arising from Wulff's muddle-headed, fuzzy feelgood talk. Can you imagine Richard von Weizsaecker, Roman Herzog or Joachim Gauck triggering such a stupid discussion?
18:07 March 22, 2011 by derExDeutsche
>¦quot;When you look at what young women from tradition-oriented families in particular achieve despite resistance from their families, and what power lies in this young generation, you can only marvel ­ and be happy,¦quot; he said. <

Is it the women we are worried about? Lets hope the men in her family don't believe in taking drastic action against her infidelity.
18:52 March 22, 2011 by Sastry.M
If Islam is part of Germany it must be so from its tenets of wisdom but not from geographic proximity of Islamic nations. Similarly Hinduism should also be a part of Germany whose pioneering studies of Indian scriptures and her eternal wisdom and whose indelible mark impressed all German minds should also continue with the same spirit of veneration keeping in view as a source of inspiration, especially, during the present day testing times questioning the hard earned German Democracy in taking righteous decisions.
18:58 March 22, 2011 by xx.weirich.xx
"Where Islam is practiced, you find discrimination and violence against women and non-Muslims. I'm pretty sure I don't want that to be "a part of Germany". So, when I can worship freely in Islamic countries without fear of being arrested or killed, I may consider Schäuble's misguided, if not naive, statement."

At least someone has a brain. Well-said.
21:10 March 22, 2011 by wood artist
It's refreshing to see someone offer more reasonable dialogue.

I've spent the last few weeks studying the 30 Years War, and I see some interesting parallels. Back then, people, but primarily the princes and church leaders, were at odds over religion, even though they were simply variations within the same general belief system. I'm not minimizing the differences, but they shared a belief in a common God and the Bible as "their book."

Germany was devastated during that time, and although I think things are different today, there is still far too much "us" and "them" being encouraged. We're all "us" even if we have different beliefs. True there are extremists, but they exist within almost all groups, and intolerance only fuels their anger.

In the US, we have people opposing a Mosque, even though the supports have followed the letter of the law in applying to build it. Why? Well, because the law is blind to religion, as it should be, and some are not. Were the Muslims who died on 9-11, be they civilians or emergency responders, any less worthy of being remembered?

We can acknowledge our differences and still live together, but only if we chose to walk down that path.

21:38 March 22, 2011 by catjones
Is this a Schäuble fixation, a German fixation or a Local fixation?
22:08 March 22, 2011 by wildcowgirl
Ok, I've been quiet about this whole issue until now. If there's someone out there that can explain this situation to me...I'm all ears.

I'm the type of person who loves to support our local merchants, especially the ones who are trying to make a new life for themselves in Germany. So there's one eatery in our town that sells pizza & pasta. All their food is brought in frozen but nonetheless, I'm there for support...until one incident. You see, my husband and I used to frequent the place once every two weeks. We got to know the fellows, Muslim might I add, who ran the eatery. One time, I had to run errands in the town and decided to stop off for a quick lunch break before getting back. The fellows there stared at me stone-faced and asked, "Why are you outside your house without your husband?"

I never forgot that and I never went back since.

Can someone please help me understand what happened there?
00:56 March 23, 2011 by dizzyblondefrau
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:43 March 23, 2011 by Noreck
People,,,,,,, respect for the law and the constitution of norms, standards and cultural assimilation gives the right to be a citizen of this hospitable country. Oh, I'm Pole.
01:50 March 23, 2011 by TheOkie

"Supposedly, muslims took down those twin towers killing approximately 3,000 of their people, if that is true, WHY ON EARTH DOES THEIR GOVERNMENT WANT TO ALLOW MUSLIMS TO BUILD A MOSQUE THERE?

In response to your question, because we are a nation of (we try to be) EQUALS. If we let that fear that so ruled us for at least 5 years rule us today, every single middle-eastern would be in a CAMP "for their own safety." Just like we did the Japenese Back in WWII. And IF we let our Fears and paranoia take control not a single Japenese, German, Or Middle-Eastern born person would be living on our shores. Its called sharing, and geating over your differences.

We still have are problems, but only by living together and actually talking to each other do you work it out.
01:56 March 23, 2011 by Chicago1996
@Wildcowgirl: Good for you for not going back. Unfortunately, the comment from the pizza guys is an all too common mindset seen amongst certain middle eastern men. I have encountered my share of them as well.

In the mid 1980¦#39;s, I lived in Al-Khobar Saudi Arabia for 3.5 years because my father was transferred there. We lived among the locals because the compounds were too expensive for us to afford at the time. It basically was a 3.5 year prison sentence. We had no rights.

Our passports were taken away from us by our assigned handler. We had to write formal petitions to him to enter and leave the country. He could deny those petitions if he so chose… Bribes helped to convince him to grant them… We were given I.D. cards that listed that our religion was Christian. My grandmother was not allowed to visit us because the handler claimed that her maiden name was Jewish, even though she was Lutheran…. Any type of Christian celebrations were forbidden. Jews were outlawed. Christmas was outlawed. Our handler was authorized to do spot checks of our house to make sure that all of the rules were followed ­ and no Christmas decorations were up.

Women were not allowed to leave their walled ­in properties without the accompaniment of a man. When my parents and I walked down the street, my mother and I had to walk behind my father. Women were not allowed to walk in front or along side a man. Women were also not allowed to drive cars. I had a personal chauffeur drive me to and from kindergarten.

The religious police would patrol the streets and would verbally assault and sometimes flog anyone that did not meet their strict dress code. For women, that basically meant that you showed NO skin and no body shape.
07:11 March 23, 2011 by belladons
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:29 March 23, 2011 by LiberalGuy

I would gladly go toe to toe with you on knowledge on Islam. So fire away..... Maybe you could list the holy prophets of Islam. I know I can.

I know this is an emotional issue for many, but really you're only talking about 5% of the population. Hardly a mass take over. So maybe relax a little....
09:10 March 23, 2011 by Chicago1996
****Here is the rest of my comment. The website wouldn¦#39;t let me post consecutive comments or even one single longwinded one as this.*****

The religious police had the authority to arrest someone on the spot and the ¦quot;real¦quot; police had the authority to put someone on the next flight out of the country (permanently). I remember my father having to have to go to a coworker¦#39;s home to pack up his belongings and ship them back to Europe. The couple was immediately deported because the wife was walking down the street with a knee high skirt and the husband gave the religious police lip service when they arrested him.  They had only been in the country a total of three weeks.

The religious police, at the time I was living in Saudi, also ordered the removal of all mirrors from clothing stores because they were a sign of vanity and that would insult Allah. Restaurants were segregated ­ women and children sat on one side of the room, men on the other (divided by a partition).  Movie theaters and alcohol were outlawed and Disney movies on TV were censored for adult content.

Our house had a men¦#39;s parlor and a women¦#39;s parlor because the sexes weren¦#39;t allowed to mix when company was over. The locals knew where all of the foreign women lived. When the husbands were at work, the local men would call the house and terrorize the European and North American women. They would call them whores, tell them they would rape and kill them and their children and dump their bodies in the desert. My mother got those daily phone calls too. After an American woman was brutally butchered, my father got my mother a male maid (or Indian ¦quot;house boy¦quot; as white people so politically incorrect called them at that time).  He stayed with us during some of the hours my dad was at work.  He was a very nice person.

I could go on and on and on. But my point is this. In theory, religious diversity is a great and noble concept that everyone should strive to achieve, but unfortunately there is a tendency by some groups of people to commit all kinds of injustices in the world all in the name of Allah. It could very well be that Saudi Arabia has mellowed over the years, and has become more tolerant of other faiths and more respectful to women, I don't know. And certainly there are more moderate Muslim countries such as Turkey and Jordan that should never be lumped into the more extremist heap of nations. But, I also understand why some politicians in Europe and North America are having some genuine concerns about certain groups of immigrants. It is my hope that the Islamic advocacy groups in Germany and in America are preaching and promoting a more inclusive and moderate form of their faith; and show a little more understanding for the cultures of their adopted nations than their nations of origin have shown us.
09:26 March 23, 2011 by wenddiver
NUTS! really just plain nuts.
16:35 March 23, 2011 by tallady
.Schäuble can say that but he does not represent the votes of the nation.,and that dose not mean it is reality.I doubt very seriously that anyone can convince the Germans of that. as they say" talk is cheap."
20:42 March 23, 2011 by wildcowgirl
@Chicago1996: Thank you very much for sharing your past experiences. I can only imagine how scary some of those times must of been. I completely agree with your statement about how Islamic advocacy groups should be promoting a more inclusive and moderate form.

When I moved to Germany, almost 2 years ago, I was thirsty for learning. I signed up for integration school the first 2 weeks I was here. I met a very kind gentleman from Afghanistan, who was absolutely ecstatic about having a chance at a good life in Germany. He was thirsty for learning, just like I was. He wanted to 100% integrate into German society & provide for his family. He was always laughing & trying to communicate with everyone. I will never forget him.
20:58 March 23, 2011 by Chicago1996
@Wildcowgirl: Germany is lucky to have people like you and your Afghan classmate. A willingness to learn from, and integrate into another culture, is all that the local population ever asks for. Heck, the local population can learn a thing or two from you as well. Remember, it doesn't matter how well you speak German, as long as you make an effort. People will help you out the rest of the way.
03:27 March 24, 2011 by Stepp
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:25 March 24, 2011 by idiot
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
13:31 March 24, 2011 by alidogar
all those who have only expressed hatered aganist islam.. i wonder if they have ever tried to learn even a bit about the relegion on there own..i even doubt there basic knowledge of there own relegion..

well i can understand..its a lot easier job to speak up whtever u like before thinking..

terrerism doesnt mean islam..as long as we start thinking that way..
13:59 March 24, 2011 by freechoice
another pop quiz, do you think the riots currently sweeping the Arab countries, will bring swift changes to Islamic societies or will it make them more fundamentalists?
16:27 March 24, 2011 by pseu
@alidogar - I wonder how many Muslims have learned about or tried other religions. . . . oh yeah, they would be killed if they did.
21:39 March 24, 2011 by mos101392
I am a retired American Soldier and have been here in Germany for some 25 yrs. I hear all the arguments about Muslims....however, I'm curious to know if they feel the same way about Jews integrating like the muslims?....I welcome feedback!!!
22:40 March 24, 2011 by HMPingu
@freechoice: Islam is barely relevant to the upheavals in North Africa. The riots/revolutions sweeping the some of the Arab world are a consequence of demographic factors: Low birth rates[¹] (that's right) and high literacy rates[²]. Those same factors *also* give rise to more secular societies. It is no coincidence that it all started in Tunisia, closely followed by Egypt.



@pseu. I converted from Islam (or whatever version thereof that exists in my country)to Atheism. This is not being posted by a zombie, I assure you. Beware of blanket statement. The majority of Islam being practiced today is a moderate, not too wacky religion, inasmuch as a deist religion can be non-wacky.
09:36 March 25, 2011 by pseu
@HMPingu - Which country are you from? Are you openly an atheist among other Muslims? I have met several women that are from Iran and are atheist westerners now that married Christians. They will no got back to Iran for reasons you likely know.

When someone makes a generalization it is understood that their are outliers to the norm. It really irritates me when people say to be careful of making generalizations. You learned a statement like that in Elementary school from your Elementary teacher.

Generalizations are not to be taken literally. They are generalizations.

The fighting in Libya is about oil, plain and simple. They were making deals to cut off the West and sell the oil to China. That is why China is so key on the fighting to stop and the U.N. to pull out and recognize Libya's Sovereignty.

I really have a hard time believing that high literacy rates are causing the Libyans to revolt . . . Even if literacy rates are increasing it is likely among the loyalists due to the preferential treatment they get.

I don't recall anyone talking about Islam causing Islamic states to revolt anyway. They are still going to be Islamic, it is not like some Western "civilized" country is going to come out of the ashes (or dust). They just want knew dictators. Only a muslim dictator/Ajatollah can rule Muslims.

@mos101392 - Everyone knows Jews don't integrate although they promote everyone else integrating. They are allowed to stay homogenous and not be considered racists for it since it is their religion. Jews are also a touchy enough subject in Europe that my post will probably be removed. Non orthodox jews have a way of blending in. Check out the U.S. media. They normally change their names to American sounding names for the public.
14:49 March 25, 2011 by HMPingu

I admit that telling someone not to generalize may seem patronizing, and irritating. However, in this case it is warranted. What you think as being the norm, ie the persecution of non-muslim in muslim countries, is in fact the outlier. The vast, vast, majority of muslims are accepted in *most* muslim countries. There are exceptions amongst muslim countries, Iran and Saudi Arabia are two, but they are not the norm.

The misconception is widespread, not because people are idiots, but because there is an information gap caused by media sensationalism.

As to myself being an outlier, you are absolutely right. Atheists are not common in Morocco. And yes, I was openly agnostic at first, then atheist. People think you're crazy, they change the subject, they sometimes even try to show you the "better" way. But I have never been physically threathened for my non-religious views.

To be sure, it may be difficult to believe the idea that high literacy and low fertility rates are responsible for the current developments amongst arab countries. It is certainly easier to believe it is because of oil (though only lybia of all these countries has any oil. not tunisia, egypt, syria, jordan, yemen, or bahrain). It however a well researched, and well documented subject. Just google "fertility, literacy, democracy" and do a bit of research and you'll eventually stumble on these ideas. Don't take the word of some radical nut on the internet ....
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