The German drama “Die Fremde” (“When we leave”) portrays the subject of honour killings in a Turkish German family. Up-and-coming actress Sibel Kekilli, a Turkish German herself, acts the part of Umay, who grows up in Berlin and gets married to a Turkish man in Istanbul. When Umay escapes the brutal relationship and flees to Berlin, she is rejected by her family and threatened by her husband.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Kekilli speaks about her role and the significance of the topic of honour killings, which she campaigns against with “Terre des Femmes”. Asked about her view on contemporary Islam and its ability to reform, Kekilli claims that all religions can be interpreted in an intolerant way, and that Turks in Istanbul are generally more open and modern than their German counterparts, who have always lived a segregated life out of homesickness, fear and frustration. As for herself, she cherishes the values of both cultures she grew up with, particularly pointing to the German values she internalised: discipline, free thought and tolerance.
The award winning film was released at cinemas on 11 March 2010 and brings honour killings back on the agenda of the German feuilletons.
Asl? Bayram was the first Miss Germany of Turkish background in 2005. In 1994 her father had been murdered by a Neo-Nazi. She took up acting with a renowned play-acting professor in Vienna and performed a play on Anne Frank that took her on a world tour. The German-speaking media paid special attention to the Muslim actress playing the Jewish Anne Frank. At the early age of 28, she has now published an autobiographical book on her experiences and life philosophy. The journalist of this article met Asl? Bayram in Vienna.
Leading Turkish-German director Fatih Akın has said he will boycott the Swiss premiere of his new film as a protest against Sunday’s referendum vote to ban the construction of minarets in the country. In an open letter, Akın voiced his dismay and complained that the Swiss ban contradicted his belief in the “harmonious co-existence of peoples.”
“Soul Kitchen,” Akın’s comedy about the multicultural day-to-day life in the German city of Hamburg, is due to be shown in Zurich on December 16. In his letter, the director said he would not accompany his film to the country.
“As a child of Muslim parents who do not see minarets as symbols of political Islam but, rather, simply the complete architecture of their houses of worship, I feel personally affected by the referendum. That is why I refuse to travel to Switzerland,” he wrote. The minaret ban has sparked heated debates and indignant reactions from countless groups and individuals worldwide.
Europeans are starting to question the notion of multiculturalism, which can lead to separate, parallel societies and a large Muslim underclass. Officials are now focusing on Muslim women, believing their empowerment can facilitate their communities’ integration into mainstream society. In Germany, many Muslim families are guided by the strict patriarchal traditions of rural Turkey. The men say those customs are necessary to protect their women from what they see as the evils of Western secular societies. But many of those Muslim women live behind invisible walls of silence. Tensions in a Multi-Ethnic Society “Turkish for Beginners” is a popular TV sitcom in Germany. A German psychotherapist who is a single mother of two teenagers falls in love with a policeman of Turkish descent. He also has a teenage son and daughter. They all move in together and form a patchwork family. In one scene, the veiled Turkish daughter tells her new blonde stepbrother that she wants her own plates, ones that haven’t been tainted by his German pork. The sitcom – written by a Turkish German – pokes fun at the cross-cultural family, but also raises more serious issues in a multi-ethnic society. It deals with religion and relations between men and women. Sylvia Poggioli reports.