Germany: Islam and Identity in Germany - the Crisis Group issues new report
"Germany has accepted its status as a country of immigration and is now struggling to define what kind", says Jonathan Laurence, Crisis Group's consultant. "However, the view that integration and the demonstration of 'German-ness' should precede naturalisation remains a formidable brake on the process".
The emphasis on ideological correctness, illustrated by the proposed use of demanding naturalisation questionnaires requiring applicants to agree with current German public opinion on certain questions, leads the authorities to stigmatise as inherently "un-German" immigrant opinion that subscribes to entirely non-violent varieties of Islamist thinking. This policing of thought has been experienced by Turks and other Muslims as discriminatory, hostile in spirit and frequently provocative in practice.
Several new steps are necessary, including:
* The Länder governments should revise naturalisation procedures to ensure they do not unduly emphasise conformity to current public opinion but rather retain as the crucial criterion a candidate's commitment to respect the constitution.
* German national political parties should promote the integration of Turks and other Muslims into the national political community.
* The Federal Government should permanently up-grade the post of commissioner for migration refugees and integration to that of a cabinet-level deputy minister and reinforce it while making publicly funded pre-school language courses available and mandatory.
"Germany has made considerable progress in dealing with its 'Turkish Problem', especially since the 2000 change in the citizenship law, but it is unrealistic to expect individual members of that community or others in the Muslim population to become fully integrated into German society while citizenship and the possibility of full participation in public life are withheld", says Jon Greenwald, Crisis Group Vice-President.
The International Crisis Group (Crisis Group) is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation covering over 50 crisis-affected countries and territories across four continents, working through field-based analysis and high-level advocacy to prevent and resolve deadly conflict.