News / Europe

German Chancellor Calls Multiculturalism Experiment a Failure

Thilo Sarazzin's book
Thilo Sarazzin's book "Germany Does Itself In" is a bestseller that accuses immigrants of damaging Germany by not integrating into society. Sarrazin's polemic chastising of Muslims in particular led the executive board of the center-left Social Democratic

Multimedia

Diaa Bekheet

German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a bold remark recently saying multiculturalism has failed in Germany. Her verdict marks a shift in her previously liberal line on immigration which had always put her at odds with the more conservative wing of the party. They also align her with Thilo Sarrazin, a former Bundesbank member whose book on how the failure of many of Germany's  immigrants to integrate became a bestseller.  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a stark declaration about immigration in Germany.

"The multicultural approach, that we live here side by side and be happy about each other, this approach has failed, utterly failed," the German Chancellor said.

Her comments reflect those of former German bank official, opposition politician and  author Thilo Sarrazin.

"The economic and cultural problems of integration for immigrants from  Islamic countries have an overall negative impact on the economic and social levels of the European countries that take them in," Sarrazi said.

Sarazzin is known for courting controversy and his latest book called Germany Does Itself In claims Muslim immigrants do not contribute to society. It clearly struck a chord with Germans.

"It's a big, big best seller, since the first day it was released in Germany people came into the store and just like grabbed the book," said Bianca Kreumer

"I think the excerpts were provocative, I don't really believe him, but I want to see it in context," Dimitri Belinski said.

Berlin's Kreutzberg neighborhood is home to the bulk of the city's immigrants. Here you'll find women in headscarves, ethnic restaurants and a street market catering to the more than two million people of Turkish origin who live in Germany.

Germany has long relied on immigrants to bolster its workforce. Laborers from countries like Turkey were originally known as guest workers, now that they've been here more than a generation, how they integrate with German society has sparked a debate over the nature of national identity.

Ismail Karayuz has lived here in Berlin since he was a child. He owns a local business, speaks German, pays taxes and says he does his best to contribute to society. Still, he says his heritage is Turkish so he does not feel German.

"Society has not really accepted me as a German,  but I am part of the society here, I live here," he said.

German officials say a small minority of immigrants do not make an effort to fit in and the government should do something about it. Parliament member Michael Fuchs believes immigrants who fail to learn the language or do not try should lost state benefits.

"The social welfare system has possibilities to cut on the social welfare if for instance the parents are not sending their children into both kindergarten or school," Fuchs said.

Germany's banking center, Frankfurt has more immigrants than any other city, and officials are working hard to give them opportunities to fit in. This adult school offers courses in language and culture free to immigrants who can not afford pay. Language director Bernt Eckhardt says it's mandated by law.

"The government requires that if you stay here, you should learn German enough to move and integrate in the society," Eckhardt said.

Pakistani immigrant Tasneem Gul came here six months ago. Although she speaks her native Urdu at home, she is committed to learning German as quickly as possible.

"Very important all foreigners for language, when I don't know about the language, I will not survive in this land," she said.

Chancellor Merkel discussed immigration when she met recently with her Turkish counterpart. Despite her harsh words that multiculturalism is failing, she was careful to say she doesn't oppose immigration altogether, she just wants better integration into German society.  One sign that it is moving in the that direction is Germany's national football team. Nearly half of the players have immigrant roots and its biggest star is an ethnic Turk, born in Germany.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More