Expectations and reactions to the Integration Summit

May 28

 

 

Kenan Kolat, head of the Berlin-based Turkish Community in Germany, expressed the demand to hire more migrants in civic services. Kolat defined Germany as an Immigration country that needs more migrants. Migrants are still understaffed in ministries, administrations or in the police. With reference to the NSU trials and the failures of the security services, Kolat proposed to discuss about racism in a future summit. Institutional and structural racism would be part of today´s reality  in Germany.

 

Anti-radicalization poster campaign – Turkish community of Germany calls the UN

September 4

 

The Turkish community of Germany has appealed to the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with a protest against the poster campaign initiated by the German Ministry of Interior. In the press release, the poster campaign against the radicalization of young Muslims has been described as “discriminating and humiliating”.

 

While raising no objections against the warning of radicalization, the representative of the Turkish community Kenan Kolat criticized the stigmatizing nature of the campaign. According to him, it would strengthen prejudices against young Muslims.

Protests against Ministry of Interior poster campaign

August 28

The Minister of Interior Hans Peter Friedrich has initiated a controversial poster campaign against the radicalization of young Muslim immigrants. The posters look like missing reports, showing young male Muslim migrants: the women in the pictures wear the “hijab”. The reports ask the reader to be aware of the missing person, who might have been radicalized and driven to extreme Islam. The number of a hotline to get advice from the Ministry of Interior is also on the poster. People who are within or close to social circle of Muslims, whether they are friends or relatives, and observe a “radicalization” among them, are invited to contact the hotline.

The initiative has triggered several critical reactions. Aydan Özoğuz, Commissioner for integration and deputy secretary of the SPD, harshly criticized the campaign, which would suggest regarding every Muslim as a fanatic and terrorist.

Kenan Kolat, a representative of the Turkish community in Germany, spoke about a stigmatization campaign, which would distract from the real problem, which in fact is societal racism.

Interview with Kenan Kolat”: We Need an Open Debate about Institutional Racism”

The failure of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency to halt the activities of a neo-Nazi terror cell and recent revelations about the destruction of key files have led to accusations of institutional racism. Kenan Kolat, the head of the Türkische Gemeinde in Deutschland (the Turkish Community in Germany), an advocacy group representing the interests of Turkish people in Germany, says faith in the country’s security organs has hit rock bottom. Samira Sammer spoke to him.

 

Germany’s New President – Celebration and Skepticism

21.03.2012

Joachim Gauck was elected as the new head of state of the Federal Republic of Germany last week. The Mulsim organisations in Germany congratulated the new president to his election. The Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany, for instance, is hoping for a cooperative partnership between the Germany’s Muslim communities and associations and the new head of the state. The Council’s representatives were particularly optimistic about Gauck’s statement about the central importance of integration policy. Gauck said he wanted to follow on the path of his successor, Christian Wulff. Aiman Mazyek, Head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, also wished Gauck mall the best for his new position. He assured Gauck that the Muslims in Germany will make their contribution to the freedom and welfare of our state – but he also said they were hoping to become an integral part of German society.

 

Others are more sceptical about the election of Gauck. Mehmet Kilic, for instance, Turkish-born spokesman on integration for the Green Party group in the German parliament, considers Gauck to be the wrong choice fort he position. More specifically, he objects toGauck’s evident understanding for the views of Thilo Sarrazin, who published a highly controversial book (Germany does away with itself) in 2010 (as reported). Similarly, Kenan Kolat, head oft he Turkish Community in Germany, is still disappointed about Wulff’s designation, who had particularly lobbied for a stronger acceptance of Islam as part of Germany.

Germany’s 5th Integration Summit

31.01. & 01./02.02.2012

Last Tuesday, Chancellor Merkel hosted the fifth German integration summit, bringing together politicians and representatives of different immigrant groups and organizations.

When Merkel initiated the first integration summit in 2006, she made the integration of Germany’s migrant population a top political priority. At this first summit, the participants agreed on developing a national integration plan, which was presented at the second summit in 2007 and meant to be the basis for integration work in subsequent years. The third and fourth summits were, then, opportunities to assess what had been achieved – with many critical voices as to the progress with respect to integration made so far.

Amongst other things, this year’s summit focused specifically on the issue of language skills, which had already been a priority of recent summits as well as in the national integration plan. In addition, the summit focused on structures of the German state that essentially prevent immigrants from working in the civil service or civil service organizations. In this context, a particular goal formulated at the summit was to raise the number of migrants in these official positions. Furthermore, the summit’s participants talked about the recently uncovered right-wing terrorism cell in Germany. They called for more tolerance and a new “culture of welcome” in Germany as a clear sign against racism and right-wing ideologies. The participants then agreed on an “national action plan” to bring forward the practical implementation of the National Integration Plan.

As in previous years, the summit was – once again – criticized by opposition parties and migrant organizations for its mere symbolic character. Kenan Kolat, for instance, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, argued that the euphoria surrounding the first integration summits is over and it has now turned into a mere show-event.

Right-Wing Violence in Germany: Migrant Organisations Alarmed

12./ 13.11.2011

Following the most recent findings in a series of right-wing violence in Germany, various migrant organisations are alarmed and call for protests. The chair of the central council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, described the killings of a female police officer in Heilbronn and nine shop owner with migrant backgrounds as a form of terrorism – more specifically, he said it was a classic form of “home-grown terrorism”. He warned not to take Islamophobic and xenophobic tendencies lightly. Similarly, Kenan Kolat, head of the Turkish Community in Germany, said it was a form of right-terror, which had to be stopped. He called on all Germans to participate in protests against right-wing terrorism.

Germany debates Muslim school holiday

A proposal by Germany’s Turkish Community to have schools observe one Muslim holiday annually has set off a fierce debate in Germany. Most are opposed, though some say it would promote tolerance. German politicians and religious organizations broadly shot down a proposal by Germany’s Turkish Community (TGD) for schools to close one day out of the year to observe a Muslim holiday.

The head of the TGD, Kenan Kolat prompted the debate when he suggested that the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Ramadan, could become a school holiday for all students. “That would be a sign of tolerance,” Kolat said. The Central Council of Jews supported Kolat’s proposal, and suggested that the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur be observed by schools as well.

However, many politicians and church representatives, as well as the Central Council of Muslims, came out against the idea. “I see no reason to turn this day (Eid al-Fitr) into a general school holiday or bank holiday for everybody,” Aiman Mazyek, secretary general of the Central Council of Muslims told German press agency dpa, saying it was good enough that Muslim students were excused from attending school on their religious holidays.

The chairman of Germany’s Protesant Church, Bishop Wolfgang Huber, said that there was a “priority for Christian holidays in the culture of our country” based on millennia of Christian influence in Germany.

Turks Snub German Integration Summit

CAIRO – An integration summit called by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to bring ethnic minorities into mainstream society was overshadowed by a boycott of Turks, the country’s largest minority, in protest at the recently approved integration law that they say discriminates against Muslims, reported Deutsche Welle on Friday, July 13. “The Turkish community is not taken seriously,” said Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany (TGD). Kolat said the Turks boycotted the one-day summit on Thursday, July 12, in protest at amendments to the immigration act approved by parliament earlier this week.