Several Western countries have made anti-Muslim declarations this month.
In Germany Hans-Peter Friedrich, the new interior minister, stated at a news conference that Islam did not play a major role in Germany, elaborating on his point that “Islam in Germany is not substantiated by history.”
Despite calls for a more diplomatic stance on German multiculturalism—by Lutheran bishop of Berlin Markus Droge, among others–Friedrich reiterated his views that successful integration requires “two things: knowledge of the social reality in Germany and a clear awareness of the Western Christian origin of our culture.”
In a time where such mind-blowing official proclamations can be made, Germany’s four million Muslims have meanwhile felt pressure by the German government to adopt the national language.
But in a recent visit to the country, the third largest home to international migrants, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Turkish parents living in Germany to teach Turkish to their children before German. He stated while German must be taught, the home language must be taught first.
Erdogan’s statement harkens back to the ‘integration vs. assimilation’ dilemma that as this year’s remarks make clear, remain unsolved in the twenty-first century. Earlier this year, warnings about multiculturalism were sounded off by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, however, went the furthest of the three by calling European governments to practice “a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” adding that Britain would no longer give backing to Muslim groups that had been “showered with public money despite doing little to combat terrorism.”
That such subtle – not so subtle! – racism has survived today’s international climate is hardly comprehensible. How have these politicians been elected to stations of power – and, more importantly, why do they remain after voicing such discriminatory remarks?