So the German government commissioned a 764-page study on the lives of young Muslims in Germany. Somebody leaks the study to the populist Bild tabloid paper, and the main thing they seemed to take away from it was that a quarter of Muslims was opposed to integration (read: assimilation) into German culture. A party colleague of Mr Friedrich’s even called it a “breeding ground for terrorism”. The minister himself seemed to have bought into the right-wing rhetoric, and was pounded for it by Ms Slomka on live TV. At one point when he tried to blame the media for focusing on the minority of Muslims unwilling to integrate, she called his bluff saying basically, “but that’s what you did too, minister”. We need more journalists like that!
Some comments on the study:
- the study (or major components of it, apparently it is a composite study) is based on 700 telephone interviews. Without looking at it in detail, I can’t judge its methodology, but there are about 4m Muslims (however, of all ages).
- the study did find: a major obstacle to Muslims’ willingness to integrate is the hostility by the majority to them. It may come as a surprise but hostility and prejudice towards foreigners from the majority population can lead to resentment on part of the minority.
- The hostility is not just a perception on the part of the Muslim population. The study also found that many Germans support the sentiments expressed in a controversial book by Thilo Sarrazin, that many Muslims are neither able nor willing to integrate themselves. Breakdown by party lines: Liberal Party (FDP) 59%, Conservative Party 51%, Left Party 52%, Social Democratic Party 43%.
Here’s a song about how Germans of non-German descent often feel like they’re strangers in their own country. Like this German of African descent who often gets asked “are you from the United States, or from Africa?” “Actually, from Germany.”