Much of the ensuing debate has focused on Muslim immigrants, with some migrant families reluctant to integrate into a society they feel is prejudiced against them.
“I don’t think that changing my personality, or the way I look, or the way I talk, or even my mother tongue would have any effect on the German culture,” said immigrant Anissa Feras.
Projects like this local community centre are aimed at aiding integration and teaching children the German language from an early age. But with few bilingual Arabic or Turkish schools, families like Anissa's are sending their children to private schools where her children do not yet learn German.
“To be honest, if there were a German school which would respect [my child’s] religion, I wouldn’t mind her going to that school,” Anissa said.
Despite the tough rhetoric from the top, Germany acknowledges that immigration is desirable for its economy, given that the immigrants are willing to integrate.
“We need the people from industrial countries to come in – every country needs that,” Mr. Mengelkoch said.
Asked if he thinks there has been a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment, Mr. Mengelkoch agrees and says it stems from the subject of religion.
“The people are not used to Islam, Islamic traditions, Islamic clothing and scarf. They are not used to that, and they have to become used to that.”