Germany’s leaders should concentrate on the practical problems that undermine social cohesion – political alienation, over-zealous policing and economic inequality – and avoid the temptation to score domestic political points with hardline rhetoric about Turkish and other Muslim immigration, recommends the Brussels-based think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG).
In its latest report titled ‘Islam and Identity in Germany’, the ICG explores issues that must be addressed effectively if the integration of Muslim immigrants and the country’s native-born, necessary to ensure social cohesion and political stability, is to be achieved. “The fundamental problems of Turkish Germans and other Muslims are rooted in disenfranchisement, social discrimination and the lack of economic and political integration, not religion,” notes the report.
“Germany has accepted its status as a country of immigration and is now struggling to define what kind,” says Jonathan Laurence, ICG consultant. “However, the view that integration and the demonstration of `German-ness’ should precede naturalization remains a formidable brake on the process.”
The report says the proposed use of demanding naturalization questionnaires requiring applicants to agree with current German public opinion on certain questions leads the authorities to stigmatize as inherently “un-German” immigrant opinion that subscribes to entirely non-violent varieties of Islamist thinking.
See also ICG press release, 14 March 2007