Germany: Stormy debate about anti-Muslim book

Germany: Stormy debate about anti-Muslim book

(A protest against Sarrazin: 'shut up')

Thilo Sarrazin's new anti-immigration/anti-Muslim book continues to make waves in Germany. The Bundesbank wants to fire him and his party, the Social Democrats, wants to expel him. Both will face legal challenges. The Local and Spiegel have roundups of the German media response.

Via RNW:

In addition, he makes a distinction between different groups of immigrants. Muslims, he says, don't integrate and are therefore the source of the biggest problems.

"The responsibility for these problems lies not with ethnic descent but with those descended from the Islamic culture. With all immigrants except Muslims the problems disappear so that differences between them and Germans are impossible to pinpoint."

But Mr Sarrazin goes further in his book, where he writes not just about cultural differences but also about genetic differences. He believes that Jews share a common gene, as do Basques, that sets them apart from others.

In his book, Mr Sarrazin presents himself as the German face of the anti-Islam movement in Europe. While he is not the first person in Germany to attack Islam, he is certainly the most notable politician to do it so openly. And his pronouncements about immigrants and Jews are a source of extreme discomfort to a country so painfully conscious of its Nazi past. Mr Sarrazin says you must never forget the war, but adds that you must not become a hostage to history in solving the problems of the here and now.

Distance from Wilders

So is Mr Sarrazin with his anti-Islamism a German Geert Wilders? In their statements about Islam they're definitely on each other's wavelength. But genetics is not a theme Mr Wilders touches on. And Mr Sarrazin is careful to distance himself from Mr Wilders.

"I deplore the developments in the Netherlands quite as much as the majority of sensible Dutch people do. It was the job of the major political parties in that country to tackle the problem on time, so that it never ended in such an election result. I find the trend towards right-wing nationalist parties extremely dangerous."

This is why Mr Sarrazin has no desire to form his own party. Instead he wants to remain in the Social Democratic Party so he can bring the problems he sees, and his solutions, to the public's attention. But his party now wants him out. And the Bundesbank has invited him for a discussion about his future there.

Via The Local:

Presenting his controversial new book Deutschland schafft sich ab - Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen, or “Abolishing Germany - How we’re putting our country in jeopardy,” in Berlin, Sarrazin rejected accusations he was stoking racism and xenophobia.

“I invite everyone to find discrepancies in my theories,” he said at a press conference. “It’s an uncomfortable discussion. But to solve problems we have to recognise them first.”

Sarrazin warns in his book that Germans could become “strangers in their own country” because of Muslim immigration. Excerpts published before the book’s release have sparked widespread outrage for being inflammatory and making unfounded generalisations.

But Sarrazin calmly renewed his broadsides against Muslims at the book presentation, while trying to deflect charges of overt racism.

“This isn’t about race, it’s about coming from Islamic cultures,” he said, adding that most Muslim immigrants were “hardly compatible” with a western society like Germany.