Germany blames immigrants for ‘not fitting in’ after years of trying to exclude them


by Sunny
17th October, 2010 at 1:35 am    

I remember a few years ago I was asked to contribute to a paper about about citizenship and identity (can’t remember who for, now), and I looked at how other western democracies dealt with multiculturalism.

One of my main points was that whatever a country does, it should avoid being like Germany – where immigrants were deliberately excluded from being Germans for decades.

Under previous German law, children born to foreigners in Germany were not entitled to German citizenship[citation needed] because the law was based on jus sanguinis, in other words on a blood connection. This was modified in 1991 and in 1999 German citizenship law recognised jus soli whereby people born in Germany could now claim citizenship.[86] In 2000, legislation was passed which conferred German citizenship on the German-born children of foreigners (born after 1990), and the naturalisation process was made easier, though dual citizenship is still not tolerated and any person possessing it by virtue of birth to foreign parents must choose between the ages of 18 and 23 which citizenship she or he wishes to retain, and forfeit the other

And now Angela Merkel, desperately trying to shore up her dire political situation, claims that German multicultural society has failed.

Well blow me down with a feather. You treat Turks like second-class citizens for most of their lives and then you expect them to integrate?

I wonder if this has anything to do with the German Greens now polling nearly as much as the ruling [Merkel's] CDU party.
hat tip @ImanQureshi


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  1. Macumba — on 17th October, 2010 at 2:06 am  

    Come off it Sunny, it hasn’t worked, in Germany or here. It’s plain stupid to ignore the social habits of the human mammal.

  2. Sunny — on 17th October, 2010 at 4:48 am  

    It’s worked here way better than in Germany. And the US has been shaped and benefited by centuries of immigration.

  3. Lydia Forsyth — on 17th October, 2010 at 7:18 am  

    It’s definitely up to the immigrants. Most Indians seem to integrate pretty well as do the Chinese. However, muslims deon’t want to integrate, they keep themselves apart which is why they are getting so much stick.

  4. boyo — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:12 am  

    I’ve only been to Germany a couple of times and know little about the situation there, but what makes you think multiculturalism has “worked” better here Sunny?

    The US is an immigrant society, so has definitely benefitted from immigration. But immigration does not equal multiculturalism. On the contrary, while the US may be a country to which many cultures have emigrated it has a very strong American identity and set of values, which new immigrants sign up to. The US approach is precisely opposite to that of Multiculturalism.

  5. Kulvinder — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:38 am  

    The US approach is precisely opposite to that of Multiculturalism.

    Given the fact the US is big on individual liberty this doesn’t make much sense.

  6. boyo — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:58 am  

    Reading some Tom Paine should help you understand in that case Kulvinder.

  7. joe90 — on 17th October, 2010 at 11:10 am  

    When people say politicians are a bunch of scumbags stories like this proove the case.

    In france you had Nicolas Sarkozy blaming immigrants for all sorts just to shore up his voting bank from more conservative voters.

    Now we have angela merkel delving in the old lets blame the ones who look different bandwagon for similar reasons.

    Another story on pp had immigrants in uk blamed for taking the education system to point of breaking.

    See a certain trend in these stories across europe and its not exactly a positive one!

  8. damon — on 17th October, 2010 at 12:11 pm  

    When I lived in Germany for a couple of years in the mid 1990s I used to wonder about this issue. In Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin it was a difficult one not to notice. Was the way that things were down to the citizenship issue? More than in France or the Netherlands? I could never be sure.
    Young people of Turkish origin were less successful than ethnic Germans at school and didn’t go on to further education in the same way.
    I should know this already – but did German born people who were not considered ”proper Germans” also get drafted into national service?

  9. An Old Friend — on 17th October, 2010 at 12:21 pm  

    damon,

    If by fitting in you mean that people go on to higher education than Hispanic immigrants arent fitting in either. They have extremely low rates of high school education. If you dont finish high school, you arent going to college. Now unlike the African American population which has high rates of high drop out rates, obscence levels of crime, and a near total abscence of intact families, their population isnt growing as fast as the Hispanic community.

    People dont just walk into Germany like they do in the US.

    So what will happen to American society, its economy, its education system, its ability to compete when you have a huge and growing number of rural mestizos in the country?

    Also, arent those Turkish people you are talking about actually rural Kurdish not West Anatolian Turks?

    Western countries are doing these developing nations a massive favor by absorbing the people they can employ of educate back home.

  10. An Old Friend — on 17th October, 2010 at 12:30 pm  

    boyo,

    The US has had a different immigration system than the Western European countries that needed cheap labor. The best and the brightest of those respective countries werent going to immigrate to go shit work in Britian,Germany, or France. The US cant control its southern border. The Us will not be the same country it is today with its going Mexican and Central American immigrants. These are the excess of those respective regions. Their children dont become doctors or lawyers. Their children dont have high rates of graduation from high school and their presence on American college campuses are dismal.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-05-03/opinion/frum.immigration.education_1_illegal-immigration-mexican-americans-skill/2?_s=PM:OPINION

    Mr. Sarazin would never be able to come to the US and say Southern immigration to the US is making American dumber eventhough he would be just as correct.

  11. Marcus — on 17th October, 2010 at 2:09 pm  

    I lived in Germany for many years, all over the country and I can say from experience that absolutely and overwhelmingly nearly all of the racism I saw was directed at the native Germans by Turks and other Muslim communities.

    I have seen large numbers, so much so that it is pretty much culturally engrained, deride German women and girls as sluts and whores for their sexually liberated ways, for not covering up and for generally answering back. In other words, that they did not conform to their ideas of what a woman should be, not the German idea.

    German men and boys were derided as wimps, Nazis and homosexuals and treated to extremely violent “lessons” and nearly always a knife was produced by the Turks.

    The police have stopped patrolling many areas of Germany now because of the non-stop attacks on them, and in turn these areas have become increasing violent and expansive.

    Here are a couple of English subtitled news reports I found:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpyzglr6PWs&feature=player_embedded

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP5XMOOelfU&feature=player_embedded

    This is not too dissimilar with the attitudes and situation in Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

    Has it worked? I would say most certainly not.

  12. Mike Killingworth — on 17th October, 2010 at 2:20 pm  

    International comparisons take us only so far. The existence of slavery for the first ninety years of the USA means that it is not directly comparable to any European country.

    The UK (and France) had large, long-lasting colonial empires and their white populations were told that non-white immigration was the price that had to paid for the past benefits of imperialism. (Of course, there are also significant differences between the British and French experiences – the latter had a coherent integrationist policy from the start of its imperial adventure, while there is no British equivalent of the pieds noirs.)

    Germany only had a (small) empire for thirty years or so, and it made no cultural impact at home. Their alliance with the Ottoman Empire may have left traces of warm feelings towards Germans amongst Turks, but I doubt that works the other way round. Immigration there is purely a matter of cash. That being so, the only wonder really is that it has taken the German political class so long to say what Merkel is now saying.

    And, to be fair to her, she is also acknowledging that (white) Germans were in denial for generations in supposing that the Turks and so on would go “home” at some point. I doubt they were alone in this. After all, the West Indians who came to England on the Empire Windrush expected to return to the Caribbean within a few years to flaunt their new-found wealth.

    Perhaps the most pernicious assumption is that the choice between “multi-culti” and integration/assimilation is within the control of politicians, or at least of politicians who have any regard for liberal values.

    Even such interventions as they make often have unintended consequences. The Balfour Declaration wasn’t intended to accelerate the assimilation of Jews into British culture but it undoubtedly did so by providing those Jews who wished to preserve their Jewish identity first and foremost with an alternative to the ghetto in Zionism. It was only after it was long gone that leftist intellectuals started to romanticise London’s Jewish ghetto.

    We need too, to distinguish between first-generation immigrants and their descendants – but that is so big a subject that I will start a fresh comment to discuss it.

  13. Mike Killingworth — on 17th October, 2010 at 2:50 pm  

    One of the most interesting facts about each of us – but one, I suspect, that we don’t think about very much – is how far back in our family tree we have to go to meet the first (more or less illiterate) peasant. In other words, how many years’ experience (cultural cpaital) has your family got of urban or suburban living in industrial and post-industrial society?

    For white people in western Europe – even, to-day, the Irish and the Portuguese – the answer is “enough so that we know how to do it, and it seems to us the right and natural way to live”. I’ll name the process “de-peasantification” although I daresay socioligists have more elegant labels.

    For non-whites in western Europe, the answer varies from “as much as whites” to “none at all – I’ve just got off the plane”. In the UK at least there are black and brown babies being born to-day who are “fifth generation” Brits, even if all sixteen of their great-great-grandparents share the same ethnicity. To suppose that any single policy can appropriately address such huge variations in cultural capital – well, the answer is in the question, isn’t it?

    History suggests that if members of an ethnic group move from A to B, whether as conquerors, economic migrants or any status in-between, they will, in the fullness of time become assimilated with those they found waiting for them when they first arrived. This is as true of the sub-continent as it is of England.

    But what is “the fullness of time”? Do we need “multi-culti” as a kind of cushion for the first few generations – and how many is “few” in this context? Those whose sense of selfhood requires them to be members of an ethnic majority will take the economic hit, and return whence they came. But they will be few – just as few white people retire to the county of their childhood if they’ve lived elsewhere as adults – the past is, after all, another country too.

    To sum up, I think Merkel probably used the wrong tense. “Multi-culti” is the right answer where the overwhelming majority of non-whites are first-generation immigrants from peasant communities and their children: eventually, however, the de-peasantification effect of time (which “multi-culti” also promotes by discouraging ghettos) means that it begins to fray, that it is harder to keep going, and more and more takes on the tinge of “living in the past”. It fails – if becoming decreasingly relevant to the felt needs of those it is supposed to help counts as failure. And perhaps it does.

  14. Sunny — on 17th October, 2010 at 3:00 pm  

    boyo – how do you define success and failure then?

    . The US approach is precisely opposite to that of Multiculturalism.

    The US has a strong emphasis on a joint political identity but it does not force people to assimilate culturally or religiously. As Kulvinder points out, that libertarian approach allows more difference in cultures practised.

  15. damon — on 17th October, 2010 at 5:15 pm  

    I think Pickled Politics is a big tease. It offers so much in potential – in threads like this for example, which I would love to talk about – and be informed about – to a much greater degree, but I know now that this won’t happen.
    A thread like this only has a lifespan of a couple of days for one.
    And secondly, it’s set up in a way like the ones about climate change activist groups are.
    You are invited to agree – or basicly get lost.

    In my ideal, we would be able to talk about the YouTubes that Marcus did at post 11.
    And pull them apart in the way one would about something on the Harry’s Place website.
    On Harry’s Place I have seen threads where they talk about Jews leaving Malmo in Sweden because of (suposid) anti-semitism from muslims, and where YouTubes were shown as evidence.
    What’s right and what’s right wing scaremongering has been something I have always been interested in.

    Andrea Merkel was 35 when the Berlin Wall came down btw. Maybe she has a poor understanding of what West Germany was like. The GDR was a totally different experience to anything that that western Europe or the USA had experienced up until then.
    Maybe she’s just a hick.

  16. Kulvinder — on 17th October, 2010 at 6:34 pm  

    Reading some Tom Paine should help you understand in that case Kulvinder.

    Happily; which part of the Paine’s work, that you feel supports your argument, was incorporated into the US constitution?

  17. Don — on 17th October, 2010 at 7:53 pm  

    Damon, you may have been invited to get lost, but you have not been obliged to. So if you don’t like the tone of this site, raise it.

    Make your point and present whatever evidence you see as valid.

  18. damon — on 17th October, 2010 at 8:53 pm  

    Don – if only it was so easy.
    I don’t think it can be done on sites such as this which are open to anyone, but also very constrained.

    Talking about Germany like this could be a really big and complex subject. Particularly as Germany is a foriegn country and it’s difficult enough talking about Britain which we grew up in.

    I haven’t even been to Germany for several years, so I have no idea what the sixth form colleges and higer education places are like as far as a multi-cultural student body goes. It would be interesting to hear from anybody who did have an idea of such things.
    When I lived there I thought that there was a degree of seperation – which was most obvious in a place like Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood – which was working class Turkish – and bohemian white grungy/punk/alternative in about equal measures.
    There was little overlap and mixing though was my memory of it. People got on OK – because everyone seemed to respect the boundaries.

    But Don – I could go on like this for another hour, and it wouldn’t do any good. What will happen is that someone would call me a racist or say that I was baiting. It has happened on PP, on LC and another website that I got banned off for talking like this.
    Why don’t you give us your opinion?

  19. Dr Paul — on 17th October, 2010 at 8:55 pm  

    It all depends upon what is meant by ‘multiculturalism’. If it means that the population is made up of people of different cultures, then I don’t mind, even if I don’t like certain cultural manifestations.

    But with what’s called ‘multiculturalism’ the word ‘culture’ is used as a by-word for race, nationality and/or ethnicity. Each person is put into a specific box of his or her specific ‘culture’, and the range of ‘cultures’ is peculiarly ethnically, racially or nationally defined. With the exception of the ‘white working class’ — and even that is a by-product, albeit unintended, of the ‘multiculturalist’ agenda — the vastly important question of social class disappears in this ‘culturally’-defined morass.

    Also, by appealing to people to identify with ethnically, racially or nationally-defined ‘cultures’, this inevitably leads to the strengthening of conservative trends within the ‘cultural’ groups. This impacts upon those who wish to leave behind, for example, peasant practices of having one’s partner provided for one, from within one’s own ‘cultural’ group. The horrific matter of so-called ‘honour killings’ are a direct result of cultural conservatives applying peasant cultural norms to people, especially women, who want to live in a modern world and choose their own partners. (Oddly enough, although racists don’t want other ‘cultures’ in ‘their’ country, their attitudes are based upon this very same theory that ‘cultures’ are discrete, immutable historical factors.)

    The continuation of such obsolete trends is actually encouraged by the official dogma of ‘multiculturalism’. After all, if it’s in one’s ‘culture’ to force one’s daughter to marry a stranger, then who’s to object to that? And if it’s part of ‘British culture’ to be rude to foreigners, then who’s to object to that as well? The idea of positive social change, overcoming racial problems, is in danger of being lost as each ‘culture’ looks inwards — and backwards.

    Yes, ‘multiculturalism’ has been a failure, not because European countries are full of ‘foreigners’, but because the theory that was supposed to overcome racial differences has actually inadvertantly but inevitably accentuated these differences, dividing people rather than bringing them together.

  20. boyo — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:28 pm  

    @14 that was the question I asked.

    Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence said: “The priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot.”

    The strict separation of church and state, along with the absolute right to freedom of expression, is a cultural value, evolved principally from the legacy of English Libertarianism (Kulvinder). Along with other cultural characteristics, such as Republicanism , a belief in democracy and small government, etc.

    This is the culture of the US, not just its “politics” Sunny. Culture is more about Kippahs and Curry, as well you know. The US, like France, is culturally ideological – to be American or French is to buy in to the idea of that society, and to argue otherwise is disingenuous. Multiculturalism is not an issue for either the Americans or the French because unlike the UK or Germany they are not a “tribal” society – they consider themselves above that, having an idea, as they see it, that unifies all, and whatsmore is best – they are certainly not interested in cultural equivalence.

    The UK, Germany, and lots of other countries, do not have a “superior” idea, which is one of the reasons why “multiculturalism” becomes problematic – it becomes about competing, equal tribes.

    I look forward to your constructive response.

  21. douglas clark — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:37 pm  

    damon,

    I don’t agree with much of the way you say things. It is unreasonable to expect folk to have to peel an onion, as it were, to get to the fundamental point you are making.

    When there is one. Just say it loud and clear.

    Having read a lot of your stuff you are fascinated by diversity and perhaps equally fearful of it? Would that be right?

    If you look to your right, you’ll see a whole lot of threads that have exercised people to keep on writing about something, well past a two day limit. One or two of these threads have changed my mind on certain issues.

    Of course you should bring your experience to the table. But I find it more than a little strange that you appear to have no sympathy whatsoever with what the writers here are trying to do. Rather than challenge that directly, you play a game with them, a game where only you appear to know the rules.

    But Don – I could go on like this for another hour, and it wouldn’t do any good. What will happen is that someone would call me a racist or say that I was baiting. It has happened on PP, on LC and another website that I got banned off for talking like this.

    Well – banning you – it ain’t happened here yet, has it?

    And neither should it.

    Stop playing the victim when there is no evidence whatsoever that you are the victim.

  22. Niels Christensen — on 17th October, 2010 at 9:42 pm  

    It doesn’t seem that Sunny knows a lot of Germany and immigrations problem Germany.
    A lot of turkish germans, greece germans, italy germans, ex. jugoslavia germans are doing very well in Germany.
    But a minor group – a guess is 20% – hasn’t adopted very well to living in Germany- by the way what is the success rate in Britain – and most of them is of turkish or lebanese/palestinian origin. What has been created is in fact as Hans-Ulrich Wehler ( social history grand old man)has pointed out a new underclass. And the problem is that no country, be it Sweden, Holland, Germany (or Britain) has solved how to help this class.
    The same history about the schools, it’s easy to criticize the german
    schoolsystem, but it’s results isn’t much worse than other european countries, the consequences is that about 20-25% of immigration boys
    is leaving school with no qualifications at all. (isn’t it the same in Britain ?).
    Whats wrong with ‘multi kulti’ is that etnic and religious differences has been given to much weight. Germany is a very successful nation. In the years after the second world war it created a success history and and moved a great part of the population into a rich middle class living
    ( and with a very strong working class presence) if it has to recreate this for the new underclass, it’s necessary that some basic rules are adopted : everyone should be able to speak and write german, which means no social welfare if you can’t speak the language or aren’t engaged in learning it, much stronger discipline in the schools.

  23. douglas clark — on 17th October, 2010 at 10:04 pm  

    Dr Paul @ 19,

    That is an entire thesis in a post.

    Just a few questions, if I may?

    If it means that the population is made up of people of different cultures, then I don’t mind, even if I don’t like certain cultural manifestations.

    Fair enough, I’d have thought. It really isn’t up to you to ‘mind’, it is frankly none of your damned business. Which ‘cultural manifestations’ did you have in mind when you wrote that paragraph?

    But

    how did I know there had to be a ‘but’?

    with what’s called ‘multiculturalism’ the word ‘culture’ is used as a by-word for race, nationality and/or ethnicity. Each person is put into a specific box of his or her specific ‘culture’, and the range of ‘cultures’ is peculiarly ethnically, racially or nationally defined. With the exception of the ‘white working class’ — and even that is a by-product, albeit unintended, of the ‘multiculturalist’ agenda — the vastly important question of social class disappears in this ‘culturally’-defined morass.

    You missed out religion. Why? Why are the working class now defined as the white working class? Is it because that classification cuts across a whole load of other boundaries that you set and define?

    Also, by appealing to people to identify with ethnically, racially or nationally-defined ‘cultures’, this inevitably leads to the strengthening of conservative trends within the ‘cultural’ groups.

    Agreed.

    This impacts upon those who wish to leave behind, for example, peasant practices of having one’s partner provided for one, from within one’s own ‘cultural’ group. The horrific matter of so-called ‘honour killings’ are a direct result of cultural conservatives applying peasant cultural norms to people, especially women, who want to live in a modern world and choose their own partners. (Oddly enough, although racists don’t want other ‘cultures’ in ‘their’ country, their attitudes are based upon this very same theory that ‘cultures’ are discrete, immutable historical factors.)

    I’d cavil at the idea that that was limited to ‘peasant cultural norms’ whatever they are. Henry the Eight appears to me to have been a dab hand at that sort of thing.

    Y’know, the ‘honour killing’ stuff.

    European royalty have practiced such idiocy for God knows how long. And in any event, where is your evidence? It certainly doesn’t appear in your thesis.

    Finally, you’ll be relieved to know if you got this far:

    After all, if it’s in one’s ‘culture’ to force one’s daughter to marry a stranger, then who’s to object to that? And if it’s part of ‘British culture’ to be rude to foreigners, then who’s to object to that as well? The idea of positive social change, overcoming racial problems, is in danger of being lost as each ‘culture’ looks inwards — and backwards.

    I’d have thought that each of the authors – the people that write above the line here – are not interested in introspection and wish to look outwards.

    I actually thought that that was the whole bloody point of this web site.

  24. damon — on 17th October, 2010 at 11:25 pm  

    As usual douglas clark, I don’t really know what you’re on about.
    I made a criticism of this thread, becase that’s what the comments bit is for. Just saying that Merkel must be going after some populist vote scouring and saying something like ..

    You treat Turks like second-class citizens for most of their lives and then you expect them to integrate?

    ..should be in my opinion the beginning of a really big subject. But it can’t be and it won’t be.
    Ignore this post of mine and take it out of the thread – and see what happens.

    Personally I think that there is something worth talking about the stories you can get from the German magazine Der Spiegel that would move the story on.
    Like this one about schools in a working class suburb of Berlin.

    Letter From Berlin
    Germany’s School of Hard Knocks
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,409876,00.html

    So what’s life like at a Berlin school where 83 percent of the student body has a non-German background? The faculty letter describes an institution that appears to fail both its students and the teachers working there: “We must realize that the mood in some classes currently is marked by aggressiveness, disrespect, and ignorance towards adults … The tendency toward violence against property is growing … In most of the families of our students, they are the only ones getting up in the morning. For them, school is a stage and battleground for attention. The worst culprits become role models.”

    I’m not playing ”the victim” as you put it douglas clark – I’m just stating that I think that some people will not want to approach isues from certain directions. They would always chose to approach them from a differnt one of their chosing.
    Which is how you might approach a subject like this.
    Focus on the German racist position of their arcane naturalisation law, and not delve into the subject in depth. As there isn’t really the time or the inclination.

  25. MaidMarian — on 17th October, 2010 at 11:52 pm  

    1) Sunny, are you sure about that paper you qoute – I know several ex-Yugoslavs who got German citizenship via a route for long-standing guest-workers (16 years I think). Germany was a real bolt-hole for many in the wars. This blood-law sounds wrong.

    2) It is common currency on talkboards that Germany is some sort of social democratic paradise, it is nothing of the sort.

    3) As ever, I am very dubious about this ‘second-class citizen’ thing. The onus is on peole to integrate – as a great, great many do very well.

  26. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:16 am  

    The strict separation of church and state, along with the absolute right to freedom of expression, is a cultural value, evolved principally from the legacy of English Libertarianism (Kulvinder)

    There are at times such massively idiotic statements made by those who wish to advocate their own ‘national’ or ‘ideological’ champions that i genuinely am not sure whether im just entering a pointless debate with trolls.

    The seperation of church and state, and the absolute right to freedom of expression evolved from English Libertarianism despite the fact england has at all times since its post-roman history had a state religion (even whilst a republic) and has at no times had an absolute right to freedom of expression?

    Well i for one would love to see the argument behind that.

    For what its worth, and this is completely ignoring the importance of the french, the path to the the US adopting their own specific ideas on secularism, republicanism and freedom of speech wasn’t because they ‘evolved’ magically from the ‘cultural values’ of england but because they REACTED AGAINST THEM. The rule of Cromwell had highlighted the deficiencies that English republicanism inherently had the and the likes of Jefferson and Madison were seeking to avoid militaristic dictatorships not ‘evolve from them’. Libertarians, let alone those ‘opposing multiculturalism’, who blindly and uncritically ‘claim’ Locke as their ‘own’ are particularly amusing as they rarely bother to find out he openly supported the restoration (Our prayers are heard! etc)

    Historical revisionism is taken to a bizarre new level when people who fought against England and the United Kingdom for independence are cited as examples of those who ‘evolved’ their ideas from here (rather than violently reacting against England, which is what historical fact at least shows)

    All that aside i asked you which bit of paine’s work, which you felt supported your arguments, was incorporated into the us constitution? The reason being its difficult to argue that the laws of a particular country support some sort of social id; when those laws are explicitly based on individual liberty.

    Using ‘libertarianism’ (or worse anarchicism) as the foundation from which to argue against an individual’s right to identify as and how they wish is just about the most silly thing anyone can argue.

  27. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:25 am  

    Multiculturalism is not an issue for either the Americans…they are not a “tribal” society

    ha!

    1, 2, 3 etc

  28. An Old Friend — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:35 am  

    Damon,

    Is it immigrant or rather Muslim immigrant status that prevents boys from completing school? There are some people who are capable and those who arent. Obviously there is no reason to misbehave in school but when you cant do, you get bored, you find other ways to feel capable and confident and it may end up looking like aggressive bravado. Boys who arent especially bright and gifted need to go into trades. Very early.

  29. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:45 am  

    3) As ever, I am very dubious about this ‘second-class citizen’ thing. The onus is on peole to integrate – as a great, great many do very well.

    Yeah but the point is that until recently German nationality was largely influenced by ‘blood lines”. Huffing that people should simply ‘integrate’ when they faced open discrimination completely misses the point.

    Its like saying the Irish in the latter half of the 19th and early half of the 20th centuries should ‘just have integrated’; the point being they could have attempted all the ‘integration’ you’d advocate, but they were still seen as different, difficult and to be avoided.

    Are their problematic youth in germany who are mostly second generation children of immigrants? yes.

    Noone is denying that; and noone is denying that social mobility amongst those communities needs to be improved.

    But you can’t just point to them and sniff ‘integrate’ without at least trying to empathise with why they find themselves in the position they do.

    Its as silly as pointing to women in the workforce and airily declaring that the ‘glass ceiling’ doesn’t exist as laws against discrimination have been brought in. The underlying ‘culture’ of the workplace may not encourage women to attempt to take leading roles, just as the underlying ‘culture’ of a society may not encourage disaffected youth from bettering their lives.

  30. Cronous — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:53 am  

    All the convoluted theories aside (some of which may be valid), the answer to why the US has done better in integrating immigrants than Europe is simple: We proportionately have fewer Muslims (According to Pew only about 0.8% of Americans are Muslim).

    Latinos, Whites, Chinese, Indians, etc. are obviously from different cultures, nevertheless there is no overbearing religious ideology that prevents assimilation of 2nd generation immigrant children (whether that would involve drinking the night away or marrying outside your culture).

  31. boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 7:41 am  

    Kulvinder, you’re embarrassing yourself. The Libertarianism of Tom Paine et al evolved in response to the English state.

    The French Revolution followed the American, incidentally. Which of course followed the English. Can you see the thread?

    I’m not seeking to claim any sort of “tribal” superiority, just pointing at the history. Perhaps if you removed whatever opaque lenses that blur your vision, you might appreciate that.

    Are you involved in the legal profession by the way? You seem very good at picking at the detail while massively missing the point.

  32. MaidMarian — on 18th October, 2010 at 9:07 am  

    Kulvinder –

    ‘But you can’t just point to them and sniff ‘integrate’ without at least trying to empathise with why they find themselves in the position they do.’

    Well – actually I can, and here’s why. People migrate for any number of reasons, it is not for me to judge motives. As long as migration is legal, it’s fine by me. That however works both ways.

    No one forces these people to migrate to Germany, the US, the UK or anywhere else. These people make a cognisant, adult decision to move and it is for them to get some sense that they will be able to rub along with the majority in the place they move to. Sure, government has a role in legislating against the a priori moral condemnation of people based on skin colour but it is not the role of government to guarantee that migration will work out for individuals.

    Empathy? Sure. But that does not extend to cultural practices which actively prevent integration and succesful migration. When people move they need to be aware of the very real restrictions imposed by (for example) language. If certain practices prevent people from going out there, learning the language, making friends and so on the empathy stops and we move to the territory of their problem, not mine.

    I for one have no problem sleeping with that in mind.

  33. Trofim — on 18th October, 2010 at 10:43 am  

    By the way, it’s worth listening to Thinking Aloud, still available on BBC iPlayer, on international migration and happiness:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00v820t

    Dr David Bartram, on of the contributors has this to say:

    International Migration, Open Borders Debates, and Happiness
    David Bartram
    International Studies Review
    Volume 12, Issue 3, pages 339–361, September 2010

    Arguments for “open borders” typically assume that migration from poorer countries to wealthy countries generally makes the migrants themselves better off; indeed, many discussions of ethics concerning immigration policy depend heavily on this assumption. But there are several grounds for wondering whether it is at least partly unfounded for economic migrants (if not for refugees), particularly if “better off” is specified in terms of happiness. Research on happiness casts doubt on the notion that increases in income contribute significantly to happiness; this article extends those doubts to the notion that one can increase happiness by gaining more income via labor migration. Certain processes (for example, adaptation, social comparisons) might work in counterintuitive ways for immigrants, perhaps inhibiting happiness despite ostensible economic gains. Arguments against immigration restrictions might therefore need to focus more on the dysfunctions of restrictions themselves and less on putative benefits to migrants from migration.

  34. boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 11:30 am  

    Organised mass immigration is a class tool – it’s used to disempower the bargaining power of the working class. It’s pretty obvious – since the Black Death spelt the end of Serfdom, the power of labour has been governed by supply and demand.

    Immigrants are therefore as much a victim of this process as an agent. Although I agree that it is their responsibility (as it was my own ancestors) to assimilate, government policy can influence this.

    Unconscious motivations often rule over conscious – as much for groups as the individual. In this context, one has to wonder why the elite would pursue a policy that encourages differences and mitigates against assimilation. Could it be to keep the working class divided and therefore less powerful? I think almost certainly.

  35. damon — on 18th October, 2010 at 12:22 pm  

    Germany did reform its naturalisation laws ten years ago I think.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/254688.stm
    I have never claimed British citizenship because of the hassle of having to renounce my Irish citizenship – which I had opted for (for some daft reason) when I got my first ever passport.
    It has never been an issue anywhere though.

    That might have been part of the problem in Germany, with people unwilling to give up their (for example) Turkish nationality.

    Merkel has had a couple of run ins with the Turkish prime minister, who accused her of having ”hatred towards Turks” earlier in the year on a visit to Ankara.

    Halfway through a sensitive two-day trip to Ankara and Istanbul, Merkel was confronted with boycotts and demands over Turkey’s European Union ambitions, and the treatment of the three million Turks in Germany, the country’s biggest ethnic minority, as well as tension over Iran and Armenia.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/29/angela-merkel-visit-hatred-turks

    And according to this article in the Guardian, Merkel might even have been rattled by a recent Germany v Turkey football match where the large Turkish support booed the German national anthem and also Germany’s Turkish origin player Mesut Ozil.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/merkel-germany-multiculturalism-football

    I presume that someone who was born in Germany doesn’t have to travel on a foriegn country’s passport. That they have German travel documents and full EU rights? Otherwise they would need visas just to cross into France or Austria.
    It is surprising that a prime minister would come out and say such a thing. I’m sure it must be generating much debate in Germany – which would probably be a good thing.

  36. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 12:45 pm  

    Kulvinder, you’re embarrassing yourself. The Libertarianism of Tom Paine et al evolved in response to the English state.

    It was in response to it but it didn’t evolve from it.

    Are you involved in the legal profession by the way? You seem very good at picking at the detail while massively missing the point.

    A substantial portion of my family are; but fair enough, back to the ‘point’. Which part of the us constitution advocates a social landscape that ‘is precisely opposite to that of Multiculturalism’?

  37. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 1:00 pm  

    @maidmarion

    …we move to the territory of their problem, not mine.

    I for one have no problem sleeping with that in mind.

    Fair enough, but for what its worth those in the public sphere who generally raise these issues (on either side) are the ones who ‘have a problem with it’.

  38. Boyo — on 18th October, 2010 at 2:11 pm  

    @36 Yes, it evolved in response to it, like we evolved in response to our environment. I did anyway, maybe you just popped in to existence ;-)

    The whole thing Kulvinder, as per my comment @20.

  39. damon — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:07 pm  

    If this naturalisation process was so discriminatory you would have expected ‘civil rights’ campaigns.
    For the left and the trades unions it would have been such a no-brainer I’d have thought.
    You would have had high school students of ethnic origin, photographed holding up placards saying ”Ich bein ein Deutschlander” – and they would have become iconic images. Did these protests ever happen?

    Was it pride that allowed these discriminatory practices to continue without being challenged by the people being discriminated against? Like, where people are not going to apply to join a club where they feel that they are unwanted?

    There’s quite a few articles about this broader issue on this English language German website.
    http://www.thelocal.de/politics/20101011-30403.html

  40. africana — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:16 pm  

    good grief, i think some of the folks on here are using the word muslim as though it were a racial categorisation.the problem lies not with the religion itself but the perculiar traits, historical realities of the cultures from which the muslims resident in germany (for example)come.
    what explains the difference in achievement of muslim east african asians and mirpuri’s, if they’re both attached to their religion?

  41. An Old Friend — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

    Cronous,

    And the Muslims that you do have in the US are from black American communities like Muhammed ALi and Malcolm X or professional educated immigrants. Europe took in those who needed to do dirty work not the cream of the crop from Turky, Algeria, Pakistan or Bangledesh. Now if I can refer you to the article I linked to, Hispanics from North America i.e Mexico or those from Central America (peasants) will not form a middle class and their population is probably the fastest growing.

    “ETS reported: “[B]y 2030 the average levels of literacy and numeracy in the working-age population will have decreased by about 5 percent while inequality will have increased by about 7 percent. Put crudely, over the next 25 years or so, as better-educated individuals leave the work force they will be replaced by those who, on average, have lower levels of education and skill. Over this same period, nearly half of the projected job growth will be concentrated in occupations associated with higher education and skill levels. This means that tens of millions more of our students and adults will be less able to qualify for higher-paying jobs.

    They discovered that third-generation Mexican-Americans were no more likely to finish high school than second-generation Mexican-Americans. Fourth-generation Mexican-Americans did no better than third.

    If these results continue to hold, the low skills of yesterday’s illegal immigrant will negatively shape the U.S. work force into the 22nd century.”

    http://articles.cnn.com/2010-05-03/opinion/frum.immigration.education_1_illegal-immigration-mexican-americans-skill/2?_s=PM:OPINION

  42. An Old Friend — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:27 pm  

    Africana,

    When I heard someone talk about “Muslim criminality” in Germany, I shuddered. You would never hear anyone talk about any criminality associated with racial groups despite having higher rates of criminality emanating from that particular community. Its a free for all now that you cant be tagged as a racist.

  43. Kulvinder — on 18th October, 2010 at 3:39 pm  

    The whole thing Kulvinder, as per my comment @20.

    Well obviously that just clarifies everything.

  44. africana — on 18th October, 2010 at 4:26 pm  

    “You would never hear anyone talk about any criminality associated with racial groups despite having higher rates of criminality emanating from that particular community”

    excellent point.i think it really does highlight the fact that the agenda of the neo-cons is one of shoring up support for their clash of civilsations bakwas.

  45. An Old Friend — on 18th October, 2010 at 5:28 pm  

    africa

    Of course it is. Who knew that in the United States, politicians would be talking about, on the campaign trail, whether Islam is a cult or a religion. It seems like every Republican candidate has figured that they will secure some votes by talk about American Muslims. I guess American Muslims arent middle class enough.

    Dont be a politician in Detroit- a city voted as the dirtiest, most violent, highest unemployment rate, highest high school drop out rate- talking about the dangers of Sharia.

    You know who lives in Detroit dont you?

  46. no suprise — on 18th October, 2010 at 6:37 pm  

    ah yes damon on typical muslim-bashing form justifying and making apologies and excuses for hatred against Muslims , as he always does.

  47. damon — on 18th October, 2010 at 9:58 pm  

    douglas clark – do you not notice stupid bollocks like that above?
    Pickled Politics would obviously be better if that shite could be cleaned out, but I do understand that it is an open forum also.
    If this is as far as this thread can go, then I agree with the opening post that Germany’s naturalisation laws left a lot to be desired.
    And that they probably had an alienating effect.
    And were racist.

  48. Refresh — on 18th October, 2010 at 10:41 pm  

    I would have never expected it of Merkel, perhaps Europe is heading for turmoil all over again.

    And this of all things:

    ‘Horst Seehofer, head of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, moved to outflank Sarrazin this week, announcing an integration programme towards German Judeo-Christian “leading culture”. Perhaps Merkel and Seehofer are merely trying to close the political gap that might open up for antagonists with an explicity anti-Islamist agenda.’

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/17/merkel-germany-multiculturalism-football

    Did you notice that – yes a Judeo-Christian culture. They didn’t want that 70 years ago, no integration issue then as I recall.

    What a peculiar stage to have reached. Europe really is in for a rocky time, it doesn’t know whether its coming or going. I can see why Turkey is facing more and more to the East.

  49. douglas clark — on 18th October, 2010 at 11:43 pm  

    damon,

    Well, I don’t agree with that either.

  50. Dr Paul — on 19th October, 2010 at 3:08 pm  

    A reply to Douglas Clark.

    By cultural manifestations that I don’t like, I mean a whole range of things that offend my senses that are indulged in by sundry groups of people; a few of them being, in no particular order, hordes of unruly drunks in my town centre on a Saturday night; rap music; ‘reality’ telly; modern management jargon. All these things are popular with sections of the population.

    Seriously, what I’m getting at here is that manifestations of human cultures make up an infinitely broad range of creations and behaviours that are continually arising, living, evolving, decaying. Some are restricted to certain human groups, some have a much broader range of appeal. Some are ephemeral, some last for centuries.

    But the debate over ‘multiculturalism’ isn’t about this; it’s about ethnicity, nationality, race and — you’re right here, I did miss it out, unaccountably — religion. ‘Culture’ is now a by-word for those categories.

    By vestiges of peasant culture I mean the way in which some people from an essentially peasant society keep to social norms that have largely died out in an industrial society. In peasant societies, regardless of religion or ethnicity, it is very common for the family to be the way in which property or use of property (land) is passed on down the generations. Hence sons of one family get married off to daughters of another in order to get control or ownership of land. In industrial societies, where ownership or use of property is not so intimately tied up with the making of one’s living, relationships can start to be based upon mutual attraction. Of course, in royal families the blood-line is vital, so lash-up marriages still continue.

    I feel that industrial society has many advantages, primarily that it enables humanity technically to overcome poverty and inequality (still some way to go here of course), but also that it permits people to choose their own partners, permitting self-determination in a crucial area of life. That I feel is a real advance over the peasant norms of restricting or forbidding relationships based upon attraction.

    Most people who defend the ‘multicultural’ agenda do not defend the restrictive and oppressive norms that cultural conservatives defend and practise (irrespective of whether the latter support or dismiss the idea of ‘multiculturalism’). ‘Multiculturalism’ was not intended to intensify the racial/national/religous/ethnical diviions amongst people. Far from it. But that is what it has done. Indeed you agree that defining people in that way has strengthened the hand of cultural conservatives.

    By viewing human ‘cultures’ as immutable, discrete factors, ‘multiculturalism’ shares the same theoretical basis as the ‘monoculturalists’ of the far right. A horrible irony, of course, but it’s an inescapable conclusion.

    Finally, the ‘white working class’. The vast majority of people in this country are white and have had indigenous ancestors going back for many generations. As a percentage, I’d guess they make up about 85 per cent of the population. This bulk of the population is much too big to put into a single ethnic tick-box, so some other accounting factor has to be introduced. A class-based, or rather quasi-class-based, factor has to come in, a horizontal division within a vertically-divided set of criteria. It’s not a properly-defined class analysis, as it usually means less well-off white people be they factory, shop or office workers, small shop-keepers, barrow boys, unemployed workers, or lumpen proletariat. It’s an off-shoot of the ethnically, etc, defined criteria, an ideal one for the far right to use.

    Finally, the question for me is how to oppose racism, how to develop a genuinely tolerant society, and how to defend human self-determination against prejudice and oppressive customs. I feel that the official dogma of ‘multiculturalism’ has not helped here.

  51. Ravi Naik — on 19th October, 2010 at 6:38 pm  

    Which part of the us constitution advocates a social landscape that ‘is precisely opposite to that of Multiculturalism’?

    None – but that didn’t stop slavery, misogyny, bigotry and racism to be the law of the land since day 1. In my view, countries like the US, Brazil, France, Italy are melting pots, not multicultural. In these countries, assimilation to mainstream culture is essential, or you are considered an alien. The UK, Canada and Australia are truly multicultural. It is great for immigrants because it allows them settle in, but I have my doubts how it works for 3rd gen and subsequent generations.

    Germany had a disastrous social policy for ethnic minorities – which in my view wasn’t truly melting-pot or multicultural, they just wanted foreigners to leave at one point. Though I have to add that I have been to Germany several times for work, and had the best time of my life – I found people to be very friendly and open, not to mention the food and beer.

  52. Don — on 19th October, 2010 at 7:02 pm  

    Ravi,

    I agree. I remember back in the late 70′s when I worked in Germany and Holland as a ‘guest’ worker having it pointed out to me that Germany in particular sought to periodically export unemployment. That is, to bring in Turks and Italians (and Scots and Irish and Geordies and Surinamers and Egyptians)when they needed workers but to get rid of them at a moment’s notice if employment went down.

    Had a good time, but I knew I was a disposable unit. So I tended to socialise with other disposable units.
    Of course, as a Brit I was a special kind of disposable unit. One with whom the supervisors and managers felt they could share their views on the other disposable units. It provided an interesting insight.

  53. douglas clark — on 19th October, 2010 at 8:43 pm  

    Dr Paul @ 50,

    Thanks for the reply. I think I’d agree that no one dimensional analysis, neither horizontal nor vertical, really works as a model.

    And I’m not too sure that making it three or n dimensional would help either. Taken to extremes every last one of us is an individual, and my arguement, such as it is, is that where there is no obvious harm to others, people should just be left alone to get on with it. If some folk will only marry others of their own class, culture and religion, let them. There will be others who wish to cut any number of these ties and they should be allowed to do so too.

    Still, food for thought.

  54. damon — on 19th October, 2010 at 8:49 pm  

    Trying to go beyond the opening post about Germany’s naturalisation laws might have been too ambitious when this is a British website and it’s difficult enough to talk about Oldham or Tower Hamlets or Birmingham without trying to talk in detail about a country a lot of people might not really know that much about.
    I never learned German – so can’t claim to know anything really.

    SPIEGEL online is a half decent magazine though I think. It’s like the Economist I’d say.
    But maybe it has an unhealthy fixation about this subject – where it seems to have an article about multi-culturalism and muslims in Germany and Europe every week. I’ve read several of them and many of them are good though.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,691840,00.html

  55. damon — on 20th October, 2010 at 3:31 pm  

    This is stretching a bit I know, as it’s a big if …. but if there was the kind of politics in a neighbourhood with a big Turkish population in Germany (like Berlin’s Kreuzberg district) that London’s Tower Hamlets seems to have, you would really have to be an astute observer and have more than a passing knowledge of what was actually going on to not juump to the conclusion that what Merkel said was too simplistic (and wrong).

    Tower Hamlets are having an election tomorrow for a directly elected mayor – and there have been all kinds of allegations been put out – and on the surface it looks like tribal politics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directly_elected_mayor_of_Tower_Hamlets

    I said earlier that it was difficult to know Germany’s issues when ones like this in Britain are difficult to get to the bottom of. The Respect party and a group from East London Mosque managed to get enough signatures to have a referendum on whether there should be an elected mayor – and it is alleged that many of the signatures were fakes.

    As I said, it’s a bit of a stretch to ask if this happenes in Germany – but it still happens here and there is no excuse that the UK government treated the Bangladeshi community as non citizens.

    I thought there might have been a Pickled Politics thread on this as I’d really like to know what has been going on in Tower Hamlets.
    The Labour candidate has even been called a wife beater by some people who are supporting the other candidate.
    http://trialbyjeory.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/wife-beating-smears-and-non-protests-a-new-low/

  56. Soso — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:48 pm  

    It should be obvious by now that the presence of a large Muslim community in any non-Muslim country is always an enormous liability.

    The Turks in Germany are a bunch of racist losers who’ve neither the brains nor the discipline to make the effort to integrate into the larger society.

    MUch like in France, those who are presented here as the victims of racism are actually its most ardent practioners.

    A few months ago in France, the country’s Chinese community launched vigorous protests against the numerous and very racist attacks they endured at the hands of North African Arabs.

    Mlticulturalism is a failure, and with a budget crunch looming that will be unlike any other since the great depression, expect to see more and more expulsions from european countries of those immigrants who simply refuse to integrate.

    Who needs ‘em? What good are they? Why pay to support parasites? Let the Saudis pay for their upkeep.

  57. ignored — on 20th October, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

    Soso
    “The Turks in Germany are a bunch of racist losers who’ve neither the brains nor the discipline to make the effort to integrate into the larger society.”

    Hehe.. it certainly takes one to know one…..

  58. damon — on 21st October, 2010 at 4:15 pm  

    What Soso said two posts above was mostly nonsense – but I didn’t know about the protests by the Chinese community in Paris that he/she mentioned – and looking it up on Google I was quite amazed. The police estimated the protest at over 8,000.
    http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7GZAZ_en&&sa=X&ei=ElfATLW5GdGSjAeg57CUCg&ved=0CBcQBSgA&q=france+24+belleville+chinese&spell=1

    It sounds like muggers have been targeting the Chinese community because the are vunerable – many of them illegals who won’t go to the police, and are thought to carry large ammounts of cash as they don’t have bank accounts.
    As you would expect, the perpetrators of the muggings have been stereotyped as being ethnic minority youth.

    Merkel and Sarkozy seem to have similar outlooks.

  59. June — on 21st October, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

    @Damon.

    Those ‘Youths’ are the French equivalent of Britian’s ‘Asians’.

    The protest you link to is just the tip of the iceberg.

    There have, in fact, been several. Not all by Chinese ex-pats, but all aimed at protesting these parasitic ‘youths’ and their despicable behavior.

    By the way, a much larger percentage of France’s ex-pat Chinese community are legals when compared to the ‘youths’.

    The trouble always comes from the same quarters, from a backward community whose perverse and supremacist “values” simply won’t permit it to integrate into the larger, more advanced society.

  60. Kamal — on 21st October, 2010 at 7:38 pm  

    June not everyone can be as tolerant as European Christian immigrants who everywhere they have gone in the globe have integrated and assimilated, learning native languages,adopting native religions and customs and never ever imposing their way of life on others.

  61. douglas clark — on 21st October, 2010 at 8:31 pm  

    Soso @ 56,

    It should be obvious by now that the presence of a large Muslim community in any non-Muslim country is always an enormous liability.

    Is it?

    Back that up with some facts, why don’t you?

  62. Niels Christensen — on 21st October, 2010 at 9:13 pm  

    #Damon

    Although Kreuzberg (and in a higher degree Neukölln ) often is characterized as turkish; it’s only half the truth; it’s as diverse as Turkey; there is strong believers and nearly
    secularists; there are ethnic and religious diverse groups : ordinary turks,kurds, alavi, people from Anatolia and from the north ;
    and there is a big group of lebanese and syrian palestinians .
    And among all those groups, there isn’t much love lost.
    The background is often ‘deeply’ agrarian and not a few barely understands german, so the chance for ethnically based politics isn’t great.

  63. damon — on 22nd October, 2010 at 1:39 pm  

    Niels Christensen, Kreuzberg was one of my favourite neighbourhoods when I lived in Berlin. A lot of ‘bohemian’ type whites there too, with all the cafes and bars and its art house cinema.
    The Turkish community seemed to stick to their own places though you could see. Drinking tea and playing cards. It didn’t seem that there was much cross-fraternisation.
    On Sunny’s other site, there is a thread about the Tower Hamlets election yesterday. I thought there might be one on PP. The links given on it are well worth following up – I made a point on it too (@20) and said it could be almost what Andrea Merkal was talking about.

    http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/10/22/labour-loses-in-tower-hamlets/

  64. africana — on 22nd October, 2010 at 2:25 pm  

    does it really matter that there is limited fraternisation? i mean white society is fairly stratified whereby you’re unlikely to find many white working class folks in say, modern art galleries (i think judging by the quality of it-they’re probably making the right decision), white middle class people might go to supermarkets but they also frequent their own cheese and wine, organic/wholefoods speciality shops and socialise in their own circles.

  65. africana — on 22nd October, 2010 at 2:56 pm  

    @62,

    the muslim community is diverse and there are some strong ethnic divides that would make mitigate against their unification for a common cause.
    i’ve heard the same thing said about the united states,whereby there is said tp be a divide between those muslims of african-american origin (indigenous muslims) and immigrant muslims (arabs,pakistanis afghanis, somalis etc.) african american muslims (who make up 42% of the muslim population in the us) complain that mosques dominated by immigrant muslims don’t represent them and deny them an advisory role. black americans are of the view that immigrant mosques fail to provide those muslims with social problems (particularly the younger generation) with the necessary supprt. African american muslims also claim that muslim immigrants are not as interested in engaging with politics or grass roots activism, pethaps since such behaviour was either proscribed in their home countries or because they’re more concerned with ensuring the economic welfare of people back home.
    so, just as with germany, it’s hard to imagine, because of the diversity of the muslim community in the west,any one single political movement around which they would all unite.

    contrary to what some would have you believe, the leadrship of many mosques are actually very apolitical and at least hee in the uk, there’s a tendency at least amongst some musims to vote in line with community leadership.

  66. africana — on 22nd October, 2010 at 3:03 pm  

    first line should read, “militate against…”

  67. damon — on 22nd October, 2010 at 3:24 pm  

    does it really matter that there is limited fraternisation?

    That is an interesting question. ”Yes and no” is all I can think to answer. I agree with your class analysis, and it has never ceased to amaze me how much people stick to the places where they feel comfortable or the newspapers that it’s usual for a person of their culture to read.
    For example, when I worked as a dustman, it was seen as completely naff of me to sit in the cafe having breakfast reading the Guardian. It just was not the done thing – and my colleagues probably thought I was a nob for doing so.
    And young Turkish guys don’t frequent those bohemian cafes in Kreuzberg that attract middle aged white blokes who wear black leather jeans and eyeliner.
    Same with Brixton and the clientelle of many pubs and resturants there. They aren’t that mixed unless it’s a working class Wetherspoons type pub where black and white working class people go.
    In Tower Hamlets I’d guess that there is almost no fraternisation between the drinkers in the Blind Beggar pub and the people who attend East London Mosque. In fact, if I was in London now I’d love to go to some pubs around Whitechapel and ask people what they thought of the election of their new mayor yesterday. To see if it was an issue that the Bangladeshi community had really made such a visible and now political mark on a neighbourhood that was once the most cockney place in London. Jack the Ripper, the Kray Twins, and as depicted in Oliver Twist.

    When I move back to London I think I might well move to Whitechapel as it seems such an interesting area.

    The thing about Andrea Merkal is that she has only been living in a multi-cultural country for 20 years. Her first 35 was in the GDR – where a Trabant was seen as a luxury item and there were no ethnic minorities.
    Maybe she just does’t get the concept of multi-culturalism.

    A bit like those put upon Chinese people in Paris who seem to have had to be told to not be so blatant in blaming black and Arab youths for mugging them all the time – as it was not the way you publicly spoke about such things, even if you thought that your community was being victimised by another BME section of society.
    There was also the complaint from Chinese people that some of these youths sexually harrassed women and ”treated them like prostitutes”. Which is pretty much identifying a certain kind of hoody youth.

    I remember this used to happen in Frankfurt am Main a bit in one area of the city centre, where young men of (I think) Algerian origin, used to stand and hiss and call out at passing women in a way that became not the done thing in western societies some years ago. And it wasn’t even just like a wolf whistle, it had an ugly edge to it and the comments were in arabic.

    But it was only one small group that I used to see, and I think they were drug dealers too – but they were the single most nasty little group of people that you’d regularly see in the whole city I found.
    And it’s a pity that they were behaving in a way that might lead people to think less of their community.

  68. deemz — on 22nd October, 2010 at 10:24 pm  

    What’s the criteria for successful multiculturalism ?

    and is “integration” required for it?

  69. Trofim — on 23rd October, 2010 at 10:15 am  

    damon @ 67:

    “I remember this used to happen in Frankfurt am Main a bit in one area of the city centre, where young men of (I think) Algerian origin, used to stand and hiss and call out at passing women in a way that became not the done thing in western societies some years ago”.

    I wonder when they’re going to graduate to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0a_Xyq89FyI

    Men of a certain religious persuasion in Grozny, Chechnya, shoot paintballs at women who are “immodestly dressed”.

    Soundtrack: Put on a headscarf. Dress modestly. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself? etc etc.
    (in Chechen, but another video on YouTube gives a Russian translation).

  70. douglas clark — on 23rd October, 2010 at 1:11 pm  

    Damon and africana,

    Interesting discussion. I am of the old school idea that folk should integrate if they want to. Not otherwise.

    Chances are that sex will beat religion, will beat ethnicity and stuff. But it takes time. I seem to recall my parents getting a bit huffy when I went out with a catholic…

    Who cares. These days?

  71. damon — on 23rd October, 2010 at 3:35 pm  

    I am of the old school idea that folk should integrate if they want to. Not otherwise.

    If I had to give my opinion I would say I agreed with that …. however, there are aspects of this paralell societies idea that does have some undesirable side effects.
    I do wonder what the Tower Hamlets election means for example, as far as different communities having any clue of the lives of people living right next to each other. There is a pub on Bethnal Green road that has a framed picture of the Kray Twins on the wall, and I’ve walked past when there has been a cockney karaoke session going on inside. ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ and all that. This in an area that now goes by the semi-official name of Banglatown. You wonder what the regulars at that pub make of the way the Bangladeshi community, (who are still only 30% of the Tower Hamlets population) managed to get ”their man” elected as mayor.
    I think that makes for a very fascinating area, but I imagine that it’s not to everyone’s liking, and there’s the problem. Racism and cultural or religious prejudice. It’s almost bound to be present I’d have to say. With parents prefering their children not to be an ethnic minority at school for example.

    Douglas, if Bridgeton in Glasgow was set to become ”Banglatown” like Whitechapel is, people who live in Bridgeton now might not be that enthusiastic about the idea. As they could well ask ”what would be in that for us?”.
    A more vibrant econony? A more interesting multi-cultural neighbourhood?

    The idea of parallel societies even existing or not is open to interpretation and opinion.
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,691840,00.html

  72. joe90 — on 24th October, 2010 at 9:31 pm  

    Last time a person was against multiculturalism in germany his name was adolf hitler cough cough!!!

  73. africana — on 24th October, 2010 at 10:04 pm  

    @67, @Damon,

    “In Tower Hamlets I’d guess that there is almost no fraternisation between the drinkers in the Blind Beggar pub and the people who attend East London Mosque”

    you know, having lived in and visited a fair few inner city areas over the pat 10 years (all of which, in the uk at least, had a high proportion of south asian residents)one thing that surprised,and has always slightly irritated me (being rather an aficionado of cafe creme’s) is that south asians in the uk do lack a cafe culture. this is in complete contrast to marseille, for example, where in the city centre (some areas of which, in contrast to a bristish city centre, actually have streets full of north african speciality shops) both white folks and those of north afican origin will sit out, of an evening mostly, on wicker chairs, beneath large canopies sipping their cafe creme’s even in the middle of december.

    i sometimes wonder as to whether the lack of a cafe culture amongst uk south asians has given rise to the mosque serving the function of community centre. it might also explain the critiscism that’s sometimes made of the way some mosques are more like men’s clubs than all-inclusive places of worship…of course that’s not to say there aren’t some good examples of mosques.

  74. africana — on 24th October, 2010 at 10:24 pm  

    @67, @Damon,
    “I remember this used to happen in Frankfurt am Main a bit in one area of the city centre, where young men of (I think) Algerian origin, used to stand and hiss and call out at passing women in a way that became not the done thing in western societies..”

    i used to believe that harassment of women occured to a much greater extent in countries around the mediterranean than in northern europe.However having read some of the website, hollaback (where women document their experiences of street harassment in the uk and us) i’ve had to rethink my stance. i think the form it takes varies, whereby, in more traditional societies it takes a more overt, though less personalised form (more a case of the guy trying his luck with every passing woman) whilst over here, it’s somewhat more subtle but (i feel) nastier.

    having lived in algeria for a short time what i did notice is a much more diverse society than what france, holland or germany seems to suggest of algerian society. the rude bwoys of clichy-sous-bois are still to be found but they are somewhat balanced out by the presence of algerian policemen, students,intellectuals,doctors,civil servants, housewives,shoppers,computer geeks, fruit and vegeatble merchants, would-be political candidates, and all the other people who make up algerian society.
    algerians themselves will speak, rather ironically- given the recent debates on identity in france, of the migrants who return to algeria for the summer as the “french”. such people are easy to spot-their walk, their demeanour, way of holding themselves has been effected by the frenach cultural millieu. it makes me think that even the playas in frankfurt am main are not drawing on the worst aspects of algerian society but on more of a hybrid culture.

  75. damon — on 25th October, 2010 at 12:20 am  

    africana @73 about the lack of cafe culture.
    That may well be a part of it. People need places to hang out and chat, whether that be the pub, a cafe to play cards and drink tea, like with the Turkish communities in Germany and Hackney (and Croydon). Or the African guys who set up places to meet and watch football on TV.
    Or with young English black youths …. the black barbershop. The mosque can also take on this community function. Especially with these new modern places like the East London Mosque and the one proposed for Ground Zero in New York that have cafes and gyms inside them.

    Migration world wide leads to immigrants looking for a place of belonging in their new home. That’s why so many Koreans converted to Chistianity when they went to the USA. So they could join the Korean Christian community that was already there.
    And why Abu Hamza was able to attract some of the flotsam and jetsom of newly arrived rootless muslims at Finsbury Park Mosque. They were lonely and were looking for a community.
    Same as why the Protestant missionary churches have found some success in South America when before everything had just been Catholic.

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