Not wanted -Muslims in Germany?

Everyone is upset with Germany’s interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, for saying, “Islam in Germany is not something substantiated by history at any point.”

Instead of seeing it as a “slap in the face of Muslims”, as Lamya Kaddor, chairperson of the Liberal-Islamic Union in Germany is seeing it, the more pertinent query is about the minister’s belief that successful integration needs “two things: knowledge of the social reality in Germany and a clear awareness of the western Christian origin of our culture”.

There will be indepth analyses, but one thing is clear: There is a huge identity tussle in Western Europe and if it is getting them in touch with their roots, then Islam should be given credit.

The two points mentioned by the minister have two simple answers:

  • The social reality of Germany includes immigrants and not only the four million Muslims. While it is important for them to learn the language, will it integrate them? Unskilled migrants often don’t need to communicate with their distant bosses. There are several examples and we cannot use this to alienate anyone. Our own migrants to the Gulf regions know little or no Arabic and they constitute a huge chunk of the workforce at every level. With so many multinationals in India, we see foreign women and men and they do not speak Hindi, even if they are working for NGOs.
    • Regarding the Western Christian origin of German culture, besides the evolution to the idea of the supreme Aryan race to several others, it has not been static. However, I am glad the minister has put it this way. For long the West has been hiding behind the hypocritical curtain of the division of state and religion. It used the negative images of Islam as an example of how rotten it is to have these two aspects together. The fact is that western nations have always had the Christian subtext.

    At last someone has voiced it clearly. Now we can look at these nations in the same manner in which they look at others.

    1 comment:

    1. Just one point. The case of immigrants in germany (or even scandinavia and similar countries) is not the same of immigrants in the gulf states or even foreigners in india. As someone who has worked in all three places, I can clearly say that there is no comparing these realities.

      Foreigners in India have it easy because the majority of urban India speaks english passably.

      In the Gulf, the immigrants (skilled and unskilled) are simply there do do their jobs as long as they care to do so. period. There is no question of them being integrated with the local community. In fact in most of the gulf states, there is no scheme for immigrants to gain citizenship except through marriage to locals. Add to that the general equivalence in freedoms and rights (eg: salaries are much lower for skilled immigrants compared to skilled locals), etc. Plus the fact that in the gulf states, english is usually the second major language especially in the business sector.

      Life for an immigrant in most of western europe is very different. You are very much part and parcel of the system and your rights and privileges as a tax payer on a resident permit are virtually identical to that of an EU national. And the language of business and communication is usually always the major language of that country (eg: German in germany). So it is entirely important that one achieves some minimal mastery of the local lanaguge if one's own aim is to feel more integrated in the country.

      And for the record, nobody is forced to learn the language to live in the country - it is only a suggestion. people have the choice to do so and that too, virtually free of cost. These langugae schemes were introduced because there was a lot of hue and cry about how the government didn't do enough on the integration side to help people get integrated - and one means that they developed to do so was to help foreigners have access to cheap language courses. It is ironic that this scheme is now being criticized as well.


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