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Blogwatch

November 17, 2008
Turkish immigrants cement Islam in Germany

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.

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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.

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Comments

18 comments

#18

I believe the discussion here reflects exactly what debate is going on in the countries with many muslim immigrants, for example in germany, france, netherlands and so on.

Muslim discrimination is taken for granted more and more in the native societies. It was just ten years ago when nobody didn’t say one bad thing about muslims in general, but unfortunately nowadays, if you even take a look at the local papers, you will find discussions about why islam supposedly is “agressive”, why muslims don’t “want to integrate”, that muslim culture is “dangerous” for european countries and furthermore – which is a very critical development. And no single word about discrimination.

It is just sad to see that the atmosphere towards muslim immigrants is getting very dismissive and way too generalized by the time that is passing.
More and more right-wing groups (in these times even some of the moderate natives) are afraid that muslims want to take over the country just because a mosque is built in their country.
This absurd idea just shows in a very clean way how advanced the prejudices against the muslim society are.

Statistics show that muslims in europe mostly are part of the underclass population – which means more poverty, low education, dirty jobs or unemployment which of course leads to tendentially popular discontent among muslims and more criminality.

The problem is that instead of trying to solve this complex problem of disparity among natives and muslims, the European locals – especially the media – are more and more blaming the muslims themselves for being in such a situation.

In contrast to this accusations I hear from muslims in Europe (I know some) that they are writing tons of applications to german companies – with no response, or that they don’t get access to clubs when they have a southern/muslim look, or that it is nearly impossible as a muslim to rent an appartement in wealthy regions with less muslim citizens.

What I want to underline is that there seems to be something wrong when comparing the general public view in Europe towards muslims and what actually is happening in the everyday life.

We can only hope that this Islam-conflict in EU doesn’t heat up in the future.

#17

I beleive the turkish should be allowed to build mosques in Germany, this may not be as bad as it seems, possibly the 2 countries can begin to share cultures, this is what unites us. This is a free world. However its not entirely fair. The Germans are comprimising and are letting the turkish do what they want, but the Turkish cant be bothered to do anything for the Germans! The Turkish are not being fair, they should care more about other countries, or else this will all lead to conflict. The Turkish people must bring some kind of order to their country. This is the main reason they’re not allowed to join the EU. They must also give back Cypriot territory back to Cyprus, they dont use it anyways!

#16

“We have no intention of taking over.” Is that why you feel the need to build large protruding buildings everywhere? Or why you consider your own law above the law of any countries you may immigrate to? I hope to God these immigrations to the USA stop.

#15

No need to invoke trivial contentions. What and how Turkey treats churches in Turkey is their business, what we do in Germany is a different story. A type of reciprocity is not necessary, Germany is a secular state with a thriving community who simply want a place to worship.

#14

“if people want to be muslim let them. if turks want to live in germany, let them. its time for immigration laws to change and allow more immigrants. turkey should join the eu. we saw what right wing extremists had done to germany. we should learn from history. dont be another usa.”

Germany and Europe is already overpopulated. Turkey should allow white Christians to immigrate to Turkey, until they are outnumbered. Turkey’s major religion would change back to Christianity, and the official language would be changed to German (or French or English). Why not? People should be able to do anything they want. I’m sure the Turks wouldn’t mind.

#13

If Islam becomes the dominant religion in Europe, then the Vatican will be in trouble. In the Middle East as well as in Africa Islamic authorities are killing Christians for their belief. Will this mean that if Islam becomes the dominant religion in Europe that Christians will be asked to convert or die or at least lose their jobs? The Koran itself preaches tolerance, but most Islamic clerics support the aggressive form of Islam, otherwise one would hear more public speaking up in the main stream media against the violence. Christian churches are not tolerated in the Middle East, except for Lebanon and very minor in Egypt, but Christian countries are asked to tolerate Islamic aggressive recruiting. If Christian states would behave this way they would be accused of being two faced and hypocritical.

#12

I like this article & have posted it on my own blog. I received it from a friend in my email & decided to see who else liked it enough to post.

Thanks for helping spread the word when good articles come out.

My blog is at http://voice4fact.blogspot.com/

in case you would like to see some of my other articles.

#11

hamza: Yes, learn from history. Back a native European group into a corner and you form nationalism that enflames the region. The USA is not racist (though in the world scene is a bit ring wing). According to your logic everyone from a desert country like Sudan can come live in great economical regions in Europe? If they want to, let them? Yeah that is quite a stupid assertion.

#10

I believe a country shouldn’t tolerate it when it’s native ethnicities are in danger of becomming a minority. It’s not a good thing when a countries native people becomes a minority. Historically that leads to bad things.

#9

Dont become racist and right wing like usa. if people want to be muslim let them. if turks want to live in germany, let them. its time for immigration laws to change and allow more immigrants. turkey should join the eu. we saw what right wing extremists had done to germany. we should learn from history. dont be another usa.

#8

europeans already declared their superiority toward turkey in terms of human rights and demoratic standards. turkey was declared to low, it can’t be member of the EU.
now they use that “low standard” country as a rolemodel for making decisions like this? because they say turkey does not allow christian churches in their cities (and i don’t know thats even true), same goes for high moral and democratic germany? poor picture and very hypocritic.

*that is valid for a small minority. most people, specially in cologne are very open to different religions. just sad to see decisions that the majority of society tolerates/wants being blocked by some right wing low minds.

#7

A mosque is one thing, but in general the immigration to Europe by Turks (and other middle-eastern countries) is a ‘crisis’. Violence is not the answer, but governments HAVE to tighten up, because these immigrant groups do not always learn the language, are protected much better than their native counterparts, and often times never assimilate properly. European governments need to stop this tide of immigration before nationalist sentiment rises again (which it is already doing) and violence becomes more widespread. Native European cultures are being killed and it’s their own fault (the minority of those officials who make decisions of immigration).

The view for a secular nation is great in light of events 65 years ago, but this is too far…

One man’s opinion.

#6

I am happy for the muslim Turks to have their place to worship in Germany. I am Catholic and I ‘d love them to believe what I believe but we must be loving and understanding to all people and to work for common ground and PEACE! Thank you, Janice Hoeschler

#5

I think I remember an article on Deutsche-Welle website about the Koln mayoer saying he would be happy to put a mosque in his city if the Turkish government would allow a Christian church in Istanbul. This was not mentioned in your TV article. What has happened to this proposal?

#4

It seems that right wing groups are agitating the current mosque issue and they are feeding on unfounded fear of the unknown. Fortunately, the majority of Germans are enlightened enough to see through the limelight. Turkish immigrants living in Germany want to live in harmony in their homeland and be able to pray at the same time.

#3

As Germany turns muslim, germans may have to immigrate to the USA as they did in droves in the 1800’s. A sad state of affairs for my ancestral country!!!

#2

Turkey Is the only predominantly Islamic country in the world that is democratic. Modern Turkish democracy is the result of the vision of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic in 1923 (and its first President). The Turkish military and judicial system has, since the time of Atatürk, strictly enforced the secularism that he started. The current President, Abdullah Gül and his political party has tried to bring more Islamic traditions to public institutions, such as the constitutional changes approved in February 2008 by the Parliament and signed by the President Gül, allowing the wearing of the scarves by the Turkish women in universities. The Turkish Constitutional Court issued a ruling in June, 2008 annulling the law because it violated Turkey’s secular tradition.

The current government of Turkey was voted into power by an electorate who were completely aware of the religious convictions of the party and the desire of the party to make Turkey more Islamic in its public institutions. One can only assume that the majority of voters wanted Turkey to become more Islamic and therefore less secular. One of the cornerstones of a true democracy is separation of religion and government (along with such things as freedom of speech and the secret ballot). This makes me wonder how democratic Turkey would be without the military and judicial system ready to intervene if the voters elect a government wanting to make Turkish government more Islamic.

In the case of Muslim immigration into Europe, if current trends continue Muslims will eventually be the predominant religious group in Europe due to high immigration rates and higher birth rates compared to non-Muslim Europeans. One can only wonder what this demographic shift will have on the secular liberal democracies that have developed in Western Europe since World War 2. Will Europe plunge into another era of theocratic rule as existed in the Middle Ages (also referred to as the Dark Ages) with the only difference being Christian oppression replaced by Islamic oppression?

#1

Why don’t you do a program on the treatment of Christian churches in Turkey? There is no real freedom of religion in that country and other muslim countries. Shouldn’t Germany be concerned about the lack of religous freedom a dominant muslim population would press on the population?

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