Are Berlin’s Muslims a Model for Integration?

Far from living in closed-off communities, Muslims in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district live in a culturally diverse area. However, a new report finds that they still suffer from high levels of discrimination, particularly within the city’s school system.

Berlin’s Kreuzberg district has a reputation for vibrancy, creativity and multiculturalism. Yet in the public imagination there is often a flipside to the area’s cultural diversity with a perception that its large Turkish and Muslim populations live in “parallel societies,” cut off from their ethnic German and non-Muslim neighbors and enclosed within their own communities.

A new report from the Open Society Institute (OSI) takes some steps to dispel this notion. This week, the organization released its “Muslims in Berlin” study — with Kreuzberg firmly in the spotlight — and the findings point to a decidedly positive story of integration.

The report is part of the organization’s “At Home in Europe” project — which focuses on 11 cities in Europe with sizable Muslim populations, including Paris, Marseille, London and Amsterdam. The OSI, a non-profit founded by billionaire financier George Soros, aims to protect and improve marginalized communities as part of its stated mission is to work toward “vibrant and tolerant democracies.”

UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic

Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe – but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study. The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78 percent of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London. This compares with 49 percent of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23 percent who feel German. The findings, based on more than 2,000 detailed interviews, suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of the European Union.