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a merkel attack on multiculturalism

a merkel attack on multiculturalism - a merkel attack on...

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a merkel attack on multiculturalism expressen , 27 october 2010 ‘Multiculturalism has totally failed’. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent blunt comments on the fiasco of German race relations has, for many, injected a welcome dose of reality into the debate. I have been a critic of multiculturalism from well before it became fashionable to be one. Yet I am wary of Merkel’s criticisms. For hers is an assault not so much on multiculturalism as on immigration, and on immigrants. Merkel’s comments came as part of a wider debate taking place over the place of Turkish migrants in German society. Former Bundesbank official Thilo Sarrazin’s controversial book Deutschland schafft sich ab - ‘Germany abolishes itself’ - which argues that Germany is in terminal decline because of the ‘Islamization’ of the nation, has become a bestseller. Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, whose Christian Social Union is one of three parties in Merkel’s ruling coalition, argued recently for a halt of Muslim immigration. The family affairs minister Kristina Schroeder has condemned the anti- German ‘xenophobia and racism’ of Turkish communities. Faced with state elections next year, and a possible leadership challenge, Merkel has herself joined this rancorous chorus. In one sense Merkel is right. Germany’s multicultural policies have been a disaster and should be scrapped. But the failure of multiculturalism – and indeed its introduction - has little to do with immigrants. Immigrant groups have actively resisted such policies as pernicious and destructive. To understand why, we need to retrace the story of postwar immigration to Germany.
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