Turkish immigrants began to enter Germany 50 years ago under a guest worker program, and brought Islam with them. Today, the country is home to 2.6 million Turks, who face challenges integrating with German society.
This year, for example, a fire in the German town of Ludwigshafen killed nine Turkish people and led to accusations of racially motivated violence.
But Germany’s 3.2 million Muslims — most of them Turks — are becoming more visible and vocal. On Oct. 25, the largest mosque in Germany opened in Duisburg. And there are plans to build more like it — sparking fierce debate in the country.
Worldfocus correspondent Martin Seemungal reports from Cologne, Germany — home to 120,000 Muslims — where the city’s first official mosque is pending constructing.
Below, bloggers weigh in on the Turkish-German immigration debate.
The “PoliGazette” blog writes about protests in Cologne, claiming that both immigrants and native Germans should acknowledge responsibility for their role in creating social problems before the society becomes more deeply divided.
The “Impudent Observer” blog writes about planned meetings of the German Pro Cologne group — a group opposed to the Islamic “invasion” of Europe — arguing that despite the demands of Islamic countries to put a stop to the meetings, repressing free speech would only encourage hate.
The “Jihad Watch” blog argues that the Islamization of Europe is a threat, and that equating anti-Islamization protesters to Nazis is misrepresentative.
As a signal of integration and trust among Turks and Germans, the first co-leader of the German Green Party with an immigrant background was elected on Saturday. Born to Turkish Muslim parents, Cem Ozdemir is now the highest-ranking Turkish politician.
A blogger at “A World View” writes that the Green Party has made a step in the right direction by electing Ozdemir, comparing the new leader to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.
An opinion piece in the German news site “The Local” writes that comparisons of Ozdemir to Obama are unfounded, and that Germany still has a long way to go in easing Turkish-German relations.