Coalition for Sanctions Against Foreigners Unwilling to Assimilate

In the opinion of CSU boss Edmund Stoiber, social security benefits should be collected from immigrants if they do not participate in integration courses. It should also be possible to refuse them permanent residence status. Guenther Beckstein, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior, expressed his position in similar terms. Ute Vogt, vice chairman of the SPD, was one of the voices in the federal government that criticised the Leitkultur approach as the basis for integrating foreigners; the Basic Law should be sufficient, he argued, as the guiding principle.

Red-Greens Part with Multi-Kulti

BERLIN – In a fundamental break with the “multi-kulti” policy of integration, the SPD and Green coalition began experimenting with the language of sanctions and obligations. Universally mandatory biology and sport lessons in school and German-language instruction in Islam were brought up. As is customary, the government’s position paper was discussed with a wide range of social representatives, but many believe that some important Islamic organisations were left without a voice.

Austria: Islam As A High-School Subject

VIENNA – Experts believe that Islamic religious education in state schools could be the way to the better integration of Muslims. Now students can even take Islam as a high-school degree subject. Critical thinking and social issues like women’s and human rights, social responsibility, the compatibility of Islamic, Austrian and European identities are parts of the curriculum, which also aims to dispel the prejudices and ignorance of non-Muslim students and teachers. Can this be a model for Germany? {(continued in German)} Islamischer Religionsunterricht an _ffentlichen Schulen k_nnte ein Weg zur besseren Integration von Muslimen sein, so Experten. In _sterreich gibt es das seit mehr als 20 Jahren. Hier k_nnen die Sch_ler sogar Abitur im Fach “Islam” machen. Ein Modell f_r Deutschland? Der 18-j_hrige Ishak _r_n ist geborener Wiener, Sohn t_rkischer Eltern. Er hat gerade Abitur gemacht, oder “Matura”, wie es in _sterreich hei_t, auch im Fach islamische Religion. Das ist f_r viele auch nach mehr als zwei Jahrzehnten immer noch etwas Besonderes, hat Ishak festgestellt, weil so viele Lehrer aus Neugierde dabei waren. “Normalerweise sind die Lehrer an unserer Schule nicht gewohnt, dass jemand im islamischen Religionsunterricht maturiert”, erz_hlt Ishak. “Das kommt eigentlich sehr selten vor. Normalerweise hat zum Beispiel der Vorsitzende bei unserer Matura nie Fragen gestellt, oder die Frau Direktor. Nur beim islamischen Religionsunterricht gibt es wirklich so ein Eigeninteresse auch der Lehrer.” Aufr_umen mit Vorurteilen – auch bei den Lehrern Ishak hat dann Fragen beantwortet zu Menschenrechten im Islam, zu Sozialabgaben, die Muslimen abgefordert werden: Eine muslimische Mitsch_lerin hat _ber die Zwangsehe gesprochen, die sie genau wie Ishak unislamisch findet. Frauen werden auch nicht vom Islam unterdr_ckt, meint Ishak, sondern von M_nnern, die den Islam vorschieben. Er habe mit einigen Vorurteilen aufger_umt bei den neugierigen Lehrern, berichtet er. “Und da, glaube ich, haben sie dann gesehen, dass der Islam eigentlich nicht so eine Religion ist, wie sie das vorher geh_rt haben oder wie sie sich das vorher vorgestellt haben.” Die Note “Sehr gut” bekam Ishak daf_r von seiner Lehrerin, G_lmihiri Aytac. Sie machte Ende der 80er Jahre selbst Abitur im Fach Islamische Religion – als einer der ersten Jahrg_nge. Sie tr_gt ein elegantes seidenes Tuch um den Kopf, auch im Unterricht. “Nat_rlich”, sagt sie, “ich bin sogar verpflichtet dazu. Als Religionslehrerin muss ich irgendwie auch die Ideale der Religion f_r mich selber leben.” Kopftuchverbote wie in Deutschland seien reine Machtdemonstrationen des Staates, findet die Lehrerin. Der Islam zwinge Frauen weder ein Kopftuch zu tragen noch es zu lassen. Sie unterrichtet an ganz normalen staatlichen Schulen, nachmittags kommen die muslimischen Sch_ler in den regul_ren islamischen Religionsunterricht. Anerkennung schon zu Kaisers Zeiten Schon zu Kaisers Zeiten wurde der Islam als offizielle Religion staatlich in _sterreich anerkannt, heute vertritt die islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in _sterreich ganz offiziell die Interessen der Muslime und legt Lehrinhalte fest, die dann an _ffentlichen Schulen vermittelt werden. “In meinem Klassenzimmer kann der Direktor jeder Zeit reinkommen und den Unterricht mitverfolgen”, sagt die Lehrerin. “Die T_r steht offen, es kann jeder mith_ren. Wir vermitteln den offiziell von der islamischen Glaubensgemeinschaft abgesegneten Islam.” Kritisches Denken und gesellschaftliche Verantwortung Im Unterricht sollen die Lehrer nach diesen Richtlinien Wert legen auf “eigenes kritisches Denken” der Sch_ler, auf “gesellschaftliche Verantwortung”, auf Friedenserziehung und darauf, dass sich der Islam selbstverst_ndlich mit einer europ_ischen und _sterreichischen Identit_t verbinden lasse. Genau das sei auch eine Funktion des Religionsunterrichts, sagt Lehrerin Aytac: “Ich halte es f_r sehr bedeutend, sehr wichtig, weil die Kinder dort irgendwie auch ein St_ck Pers_nlichkeit und Identit_t wiederfinden, im Normunterricht. Das, finde ich, ist sehr bedeutend, weil dann sehen sie, ich bin akzeptiert, ich bin ein Teil dieser Gesellschaft, und ich kann sogar meine Religion im Unterricht finden.” Ishak m_chte nach seinem _sterreichischen Wehrdienst _sterreichisches Recht studieren. Er f_hle sich aber immer noch als T_rke, sagt der geb_rtige Wiener, weil ihn die meisten _sterreicher so s_hen. Alkohol hat er nicht mal nach seiner Abiturfeier getrunken. Terrorismus, Fundamentalismus, Schleierzwang, Steinigungen und K_rperstrafen, die es in manchen muslimisch gepr_gten L_ndern gibt, h_lt er f_r unislamisch. Empfehlung f_r Deutschland Ishak pr_sentiert sich als kritischer, demokratisch gesinnter Mitteleurop_er muslimischen Glaubens. Dazu hat ihn wohl auch der Religionsunterricht in der Schule gemacht. “Wir h_ren ja auch, dass es Imame gibt, die zum Beispiel zum Dschihad aufrufen und solche Sachen und das, glaube ich, kann in einem Religionsunterricht in der Schule nicht passieren.” Islamischen Religionsunterricht an ganz normalen Schulen, das empfiehlt Ishak auch f_r Deutschland.

Government Extends Deadline for Developing the Integration Concept

Ulrich William, the spokesman of the government, announced that the Federal Cabinet agreed to extend the deadline for constructing Germany’s integration plan from the end of 2006 to the middle of 2007. The forthcoming integration summit will be the prelude to the development of a proper plan of action. The Cabinet adopted a position paper, which will serve as the basis of the consulting process. As an important goal it names the reparation of the so-called integration deficit in the second and third generation of immigrants; the emergence of a “lost generation” must be prevented.

Participation Instead of Assimilation

Social participation is one of the immigrants’ most important demands. Most of them do not want to be integrated, if that means completely giving up their culture, language and religion. Most concepts, however, ignore the immigrants’ opinion and expectations altogether. “Do not threaten immigrants with sanctions and deportation”, asked the T_rkische Gemeinde in Deutschland (TGD) a few months ago. “The goals of integration cannot be achieved in any case by threats, but by providing equal opportunities in education and on the job market, by equal treatment, participation, co-operation and by the inclusion of the immigrants in the development process.” To date, not even the linguistic, cultural and religious variety of immigrants has been taken sufficient notice of in German society and in its social discourse, according to the TGD. Islam as a component of millions of immigrants’ religious identity represents a distinctive challenge to integration into German society, shaped as it is by its Christian past and present. “The legitimate fear of many Muslims, namely that integration would lead to assimilation, must therefore be pre-empted in the context of the integration process, with confidence-building measures”, insists the Central Council of Muslims in Germany. Conversely, two sets of developments have been observed so far. Some immigrants make do without their cultural-religious traditions, and thereby hope to secure faster social acceptance and integration. For another group, the fear of losing their traditions leads them to a renewed interest in religion.

No to Headscarf, Yes to Nun’s Habit

The judgement that allowed the Muslim teacher to wear her headscarf in school in a showcase trial is about to be challenged again. Helmut Rau (CDU), Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport for Baden-W_rttemberg, announced that he will file an appeal against the recent judgement in favour of Doris G. by the Stuttgart Administrative Court. “A nun’s habit”, argues Rau, “is her working clothes, and moreover a permissible expression of Western Christian culture.”

Muslim teachers sacked for wearing headscarf

BRUSSELS – Two Muslim teachers from the Brussels public education system have been sacked for wearing an Islamic headscarf. The Muslim teachers were first issued a warning, but continued to wear their headscarves and were later sacked. They have lodged an appeal. The director of the Brussels school group, Jacky Goris, said the dismissal was correct. “In April 2005, the board of management of the Brussels school group decided that teachers, the same as students, were not allowed to wear noticeable religious symbols,” she said. “The two Muslim teachers started the school year in September 2005 in acceptance with the regulation. But around the New Year, they suddenly started wearing a headscarf. That is a breach of contract.” Goris said they could have also chosen for a pragmatic solution. “During the lessons on Islam, they were allowed to wear the headscarf the same as priests may wear a large crucifix during religious lessons.” She added: “Outside the lessons, they could have worn a discreet scarf or a little hat. I would not have had a problem with that either”. Goris denied allegations of discrimination, pointing out that the school had sacked a teacher in 2004-05 after he sent racist emails to students. It said it imposes a policy of “neutrality”. Brussels Education Minister Guy Vanhengel has backed the stance that teachers should not wear noticeable religious symbols. Flemish Education Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said schools should individually decide whether they would allow a headscarf or not. The sacked teachers are fighting their dismissal in the council of appeal, which is made up of a magistrate, supported by two public school staff members who are not part of the Brussels school group. A definitive ruling is expected at the end of this month

What British Muslims Think

The London transport bombings of July 2005 prompted no less than eight surveys of Muslim opinion in Britain within the year. When added to two surveys from 2004, they provide in the aggregate a unique insight into the thinking of the nearly 2 million Muslims in “Londonistan.” The hostile mentality they portray is especially alarming when one recalls that London’s police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, recently told the Times of London that the threat of terrorism “is very grim” because there are, “as we speak, people in the United Kingdom planning further atrocities.” The July 7 attacks: About one in 20 British Muslims has voiced overt sympathy for the bombings a year ago. Separate polls find that between 2% and 6% endorse the attacks, 4% refuse to condemn them, 5% believe the Koran justifies them, and 6% say the suicide bombers were acting in accord with the principles of Islam. Without endorsing the attacks, far larger numbers show an understanding for them: Thirteen percent say the July 7 suicide bombers should be regarded as “martyrs,” 16% say the attacks were wrong but the cause was right, while 20% feel sympathy for the “feelings and motives” of the attackers. A whopping 56% can see “why some people behave in that way.” Help the police? A worrisome number of Muslims would not help the police if they suspected a fellow Muslim was planning a terrorist attack, ranging in different surveys from 5% to 14% to 18%. Violence acceptable? Before July 7, 2005, 11% found it acceptable “for religious or political groups to use violence for political ends,” but only 4% thought so after the attacks, showing a rare improvement. Two polls turned up the identical figure of 7% of Muslims endorsing suicide attacks on civilians in Britain. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, those most likely to carry out such an attack, the number jumps to 12%.) How about suicide attacks on the military in Britain? Positive answers came in at 16% and 21% (with 28% of 18- to 24-year-olds). Are the respondents themselves willing to embrace violence to bring an end to “decadent and immoral” Western society? One percent, or some 16,000 persons, answered in the affirmative. Muslim or British: Polling indicates that a majority of Muslims perceive a conflict between their British and Muslim identities. Two polls show that only a small proportion identifies itself first as a British (7% and 12%), but they differ widely on the number who identify first with their religion (81% and 46%).??Implementing Islamic law: Muslims widely state that Shariah should reign in Britain. Forty percent approve of Shariah being applied in predominantly Muslim areas, and 61% want Shariah courts to settle civil cases among Muslims. All of 58% want those who criticize or insult Islam to face criminal prosecution. Schools should be prohibited from banning female pupils from wearing the hijab, say 55%, while 88% insist that schools and work places should accommodate Muslim prayer times. Integration into Britain: In a nearly mirror image of each other, 65% say Muslims need to do more to integrate into mainstream British culture, and 36% say modern British values threaten the Islamic way of life. Twenty-seven percent feel conflicted between loyalty to fellow Muslims and to Britain. Of those who despise Western civilization and think Muslims “should seek to bring it to an end,” 32% endorse nonviolent means and 7% violent means. Attitudes toward Jews: Polls confirm that the anti-Semitism widespread in the Muslim world also rears its head in Britain. About half the Muslims polled believe that Jews in Britain have too much influence over Britain’s foreign policy and are in league with the Freemasons to control its press and politics. Some 37% consider Jews in Britain “legitimate targets as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East,” and 16% state that suicide bombings can be justified in Israel. (Among 18- to 24-year-olds, that number rises to 21%.) In sum, more than half of British Muslims want Islamic law and 5% endorse violence to achieve that end. These results demonstrate that Britain’s potential terrorists live in a highly nurturing community.?

Un Populist Italian Jette De L’huile Sur Le Feu

ROME – Un dirigeant de la droite populiste italienne exacerbe depuis plusieurs jours les sentiments anti-fran_ais en Italie avec des commentaires racistes sur l’_quipe de France de soccer, “compos_e de noirs, d’islamistes et de communistes”. Vice-pr_sident du S_nat italien et dirigeant de la Ligue du Nord, parti de droite populiste au ton souvent x_nophobe, Roberto Calderoli avait salu_ dimanche le titre de champion du monde comme “une victoire de l’identit_ italienne, d’une _quipe qui a align_ des Lombards, des Napolitains, des V_nitiens et des Calabrais et qui a gagn_ contre une _quipe de France qui a sacrifi_ sa propre identit_ en alignant des noirs, des islamistes et des communistes pour obtenir des r_sultats”. L’ambassadeur de France en Italie, Yves Aubin de Messuzi_re, a d_nonc_ une “d_claration inacceptable et m_prisable destin_e _ fomenter la haine” et a adress_ une lettre de protestation au pr_sident du S_nat, Franco Marini. Roberto Calderoli a refus_ mardi de s’excuser et a d_nonc_ “une volont_ de d_clencher un scandale”. Internationale “Quand je dis que l’_quipe de France est compos_e de noirs, d’islamistes et de communistes, je dis une chose objective et _vidente”, a-t-il affirm_, cit_ par l’agence Ansa. “Qui se scandalise et r_clame des excuses ne se sent pas la conscience tranquille”, a-t-il ajout_. “La France est une nation multiethnique, vu son pass_ colonialiste, ce dont je ne serais pas fier. Mais ce n’est pas ma faute si certains sont rest_s perplexes devant une _quipe qui a align_ sept noirs sur onze joueurs, si Barthez (le gardien de but) chante l’Internationale au lieu de la Marseillaise et si certains pr_f_rent la Mecque _ Bethl_em”, a-t-il poursuivi. “Je ne crois pas devoir avoir honte de ce que j’ai dit, m_me si cela choque _ Paris o_ l’on donne du g_nie _ Zidane, confondant coup de g_nie et coup de t_te”, a-t-il conclu. Ancien ministre des R_formes institutionnelles, Roberto Calderoli est coutumier des d_clarations outranci_res et des actes provocateurs. Au plus fort de la crise des caricatures controvers_es du proph_te Mahomet, il avait scandalis_ le monde musulman en arborant un T-shirt avec une de ces caricatures sur la premi_re cha_ne de la t_l_vision publique RAI. Silvio Berlusconi avait _t_ contraint de le limoger.