NEWS

German Multicultural Society and Immigration Policies Have Failed

Turkish laborers who helped the nation rebuild from the ruins of World War II. Yet German politicians believed those laborers would eventually return home. Instead, many have stayed and their children's children are now starting families here

2010/10/17 12:00 AM

By: gop

BERLIN - Germany and its Chancellor Angela Merkel are debating the country's immigration issue having declared that it has thus far failed.

Merkel told a meeting of young members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union that while immigrants are welcome in Germany, they must learn the language and accept the country's cultural norms.

"This multicultural approach, saying that we simply live side by side and live happily with each other has failed. Utterly failed," Merkel said.

Merkel acknowledged in her Saturday comments that then-West Germany in the 1960's opened its doors to Turkish laborers who helped the nation rebuild from the ruins of World War II. Yet German politicians believed those laborers would eventually return home. Instead, many have stayed and their children's children are now starting families here.

Why has Immigration Failed in Germany?

"We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don't accept them don't have a place here," said the chancellor. While saying that the government needed to encourage the training of Muslim clerics in Germany, Merkel said "Islam is part of Germany", echoeing the recent comments of President Wulff.

The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a senior member of Germany's central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves. He also went on to say that "no immigrant group other than Muslims is so strongly connected with claims on the welfare state and crime. Mr. Thilo Sarrazin has since resigned.

The integration of Muslims has been a hot button issue since August when a senior member of Germany's central bank sparked outrage by saying the country was being made "more stupid" by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants with headscarves. He also went on to say that "no immigrant group other than Muslims is so strongly connected with claims on the welfare state and crime. Mr. Thilo Sarrazin has since resigned.

"Subsidising immigrants" isn't sufficient, Germany has the right to "make demands" on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.

Germany's Demographics with respect to Immigration

With 81.8 million inhabitants Germany is beleived to have an immigrant population of just over 10 million persons.

During the last decade of the 20th century Germany has transformed its attitude towards immigrants. Until the mid-nineties the opinion was widespread that Germany is not a country of immigration, even though about 20% of the population were of non-German origin.

One out of five marriages is a binational one, and one out of four children born in Germany has at least one foreign parent.

Germany is a modern, cosmopolitan, creative society which is shaped by a plurality of lifestyles and regional differences. The country established a high level of gender equality, promotes disability rights and is legally and socially tolerant towards homosexuals. Gays and lesbians can legally adopt their partner's biological children, civil unions have been permitted since 2001.

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