Saturday, December 03, 2005

Germany and Muslims grow apart.

EU: Interesting article by Peter Schneider about the realization of a parallel society in Germany are now a concern for Germany. Unfortunately this was due to the honor death of Hatun Surucu by her brothers.

"....Until recently, most held to the illusion that living together with some 300,000 Muslim immigrants and children of immigrants was basically working. Take Neukölln. The district is proud of the fact that it houses citizens of 165 nations. Some 40 percent of these, by far the largest group, are Turks and Kurds; the second-largest group consists of Arabs. Racially motivated attacks occur regularly in Brandenburg, the former East German state that surrounds Berlin, where foreigners are few, accounting for only about 2 percent of the population. But such attacks hardly ever happen in Neukölln. Stefanie Vogelsang, a councilwoman from Neukölln, says that residents talk about "our Turks" in an unmistakably friendly way, although they are less friendly when it comes to Arabs, who arrived after the Turks, often illegally. But tolerance of Muslim immigrants began to change in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Parallel to the declarations of "unconditional solidarity" with Americans by the German majority, rallies of another sort were taking place in Neukölln and Kreuzberg. Bottle rockets were set off from building courtyards, a poor man's fireworks: two rockets here, three rockets there. Altogether, hundreds of rockets were shooting skyward in celebration, just as most Berliners were searching for words to express their horror. For many German residents in Neukölln and Kreuzberg, Vogelsang recalls, that was the first time they stopped to wonder who their neighbors really were. When a broader German public began concerning itself with the parallel Muslim world arising in its midst, it was primarily thanks to three female authors, three rebellious Muslims: Ates, the author of "The Great Journey Into the Fire"; Kelek, who wrote "The Foreign Bride"; and Serap Cileli, who penned "We're Your Daughters, Not Your Honor." ....Yet it is possible that the murder of Hatun Surucu never would have made the headlines at all but for three Muslim students at a high school near where she was killed in the Tempelhof district. The three openly approved of the murder. Shortly before that, the same students had bullied a fellow pupil because her clothing was "not in keeping with the religious regulations." Volker Steffens, the school's director, decided to make the matter public in a letter to students, parents and teachers. During 50 years of continuing immigration, Germans tried to tell themselves that Germany was not a country of immigrants. Suddenly, the obvious could no longer be denied. Alarmed by the honor killings, Germans have begun to investigate the parallel society: a society proud of its isolation; purist and traditional yet, in its own terms, creative, forward-looking and often contemptuous of the German host society. ....Since the introduction of Islamic religious instruction, the number of girls that attend school in head scarves has jumped, and school offices are inundated with petitions to excuse girls from swimming and sports as well as class outings. There are no reliable figures showing how many Muslims living in Germany regularly attend a mosque; the estimates vary between 40 and 50 percent. Vogelsang, the councilwoman, stresses that the majority of the mosques in Neukölln are as open to the world as they ever were. But the radical religious communities are gaining ground. Vogelsang points to the Imam Reza Mosque, whose home page, until a recent revision, praised the attacks of Sept. 11, designated women as second-class human beings and referred to gays and lesbians as animals. "And that kind of thing," she says, fuming, "is still defended by the left in the name of religious freedom." The three Turkish authors are mounting a frontal assault on that kind of relativism.

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