Demonstrations against the IS, violence between Kurds, Turks and Chechen and the Islamic law

In several Austrian cities Kurds have demonstrated against the violence of the IS and for an international intervention to save their countrymen in Kobane. During some of the mentioned demonstrations people were seriously injured (for example in Bregenz, the capital of Vorarlberg). According to Austrian newspapers Muslims with Chechen or Turkish origin were attacking Kurds; however, there are also reports, which are accusing Kurds for acting violently against Chechens or Turks.

At the same time the Austrian government tries to stop such developments by redesigning the Islamic law. However, the leader of the Austrian Muslim community, Fuat Sanac, criticizes the efforts of the government; according to him the government is not interested in a dialog with Muslims, it rather wants to control the Muslim community.

Beside the Kurdish demonstrations, members of the green party have demonstrated in front of the Turkish embassy in Vienna. They accuse the Turkish state to not do enough to save the Kurds in Kobane; and to not do enough to fight the IS.

Turkish fast food: Kebab

Der Standard reports that the first Turkish Kebab restaurant celebrates its 30th anniversary in Vienna. The story is embedded into the Turkish migration history to Austria. The report also explains, that the first Kebab restaurants were a welcome alternative to Austrian fast food. However, it also focuses on 9/11, the current discussions on Islam as well as on the difficulties that Turkish migrants face today.

Austria: Attacks during a soccer game

July 25, 2014

The Austrian newspaper der Standard is reporting, that soccer players from an Israeli soccer club were attacked during a friendship game in Austria. According to the newspaper the attackers had a Palestinian and Turkish background. They wanted vengeance for the Israeli attacks on Gaza – the newspaper said.

Ailing Midwestern Cities Extend a Welcoming Hand to Immigrants

DAYTON, Ohio — Fighting back from the ravages of industrial decline, this city adopted a novel plan two years ago to revive its economy and its spirits: become a magnet for immigrants.

The Dayton City Commission voted to make the city “immigrant friendly,” with programs to attract newcomers and encourage those already here, as a way to help stem job losses and a drop in population.

In north Dayton — until recently a post-apocalyptic landscape of vacant, gutted houses — 400 Turkish families have moved in, many coming from other American cities. Now white picket fences, new roofs and freshly painted porches are signs of a brisk urban renewal led by the immigrants, one clapboard house at a time.

The momentum for change in Dayton came from the immigrants. In 2010, Mr. Shakhbandarov told the newly elected mayor, Gary Leitzell, that he was thinking of asking Turkish immigrants across the United States to settle here. Most of the Turks in Dayton are refugees who fled persecution in Russia and other former Soviet bloc countries.

Officials quickly realized that this city of 141,000 already had a small but fast-growing foreign-born population: more than 10,000 Muslims from different countries; refugees from Burundi and Somalia; college students from China, India and Saudi Arabia; Filipinos in health care jobs; and laborers from Latin America, many here illegally.

Turks chose Dayton, Mr. Shakhbandarov said, because the cost of living was low and there were universities nearby for their children. The newcomers have started restaurants and shops, as well as trucking companies to ferry equipment for a nearby Air Force base. And they have used their savings to refurbish houses in north Dayton, where Turkish leaders estimated that they had invested $30 million so far, including real estate, materials purchases and the value of their labor.

Mr. Shakhbandarov stood proudly at the entrance of the Turkish community center that recently opened downtown, gesturing to the lobby’s beige floor tiles, imported from Turkey to make visitors “feel warm” when they arrive. Turks bought the center, empty and dilapidated, from the city with a favorable loan. Now it houses a neighborhood preschool and martial arts classes, joined enthusiastically by girls in head scarves.


A Muslim organization, the Islamic Center of Peace, bought a blocklong shopping center, not far from downtown, that was so decayed the city had started to demolish it. The center’s president, Ismail Gula, envisions a bustling international shopping, recreational and religious center that will serve anyone in the city.

“I want my community to prove we are part of the community at large,” said Mr. Gula, a longtime Dayton resident who was born in Libya.

Recent research suggests that Dayton’s experience is not accidental. In a national study published last month, Jacob L. Vigdor, an economics professor at Duke University, found that over the last four decades, immigrants helped preserve and in some cases add manufacturing jobs in cities where they settled, sustaining employment for Americans. They also added to local housing values. For every thousand immigrants who moved into a county, 270 Americans moved in after them, Mr. Vigdor found.

Dayton’s immigrant experiment is particularly close to home for one lawmaker who will most likely have a major impact on the debate in Washington: the Republican speaker of the House, John A. Boehner. His district wraps around the city on three sides.

Survey: German and Turkish value systems

A survey, conducted by the little known institutes INFO GmbH (Berlin) and Liljeberg Research International (Antalya/Turkey), compares values systems of Germans, Turks and Turks in Germany for the first time. About 1,000 people were polled about their values, religiosity, life views and consumption.

While general values of friendship, family cohesion, freedom, democracy and political participation were highly regarded in all three groups, they differed in more concrete issues, especially regarding sexuality. 9 percent of the Germans, but 32 percent of German Turks and 52 percent of Turks thought that raising children is entirely a female responsibility. 18 percent of Germans, 41 percent of German Turks and 62 percent of Turks thought that the husband/father externally represents the family.

Similarly strong tendencies could be observed in questions of condemning premarital sex or regarding virginity of the bride as a prerequisite for marriage. In general, the values of German Turks resemble those of their counterparts in Turkey much more than those of the Germans.

Minister calls for giving youth of immigrant backgrounds same opportunities as other Germans

Armin Laschet, Minister for Intergenerational Affairs, Family, Women and Integration in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, discussed the transformation of the migration model of society and the continued lack of advancement opportunities for immigrants in Germany. In this interview he argues that the social and ethnic background of a person must and will cease to play a role. Especially in the case of young Turks, equal opportunities are far from being met, which is also why some university graduates of Turkish background return to the country of their parents in hope for better opportunities. Laschet says, “I believe that if we highlight the success stories that already exist, then a mood will develop in which people will say, ‘I’m staying here. This is where I was born and it really is my country.'”

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.

A tirade against Turks in Germany by a recently appointed central bank board member provoked widespread anger

The governor of the German Central Bank, Axel Weber, has been attempting a damage limitation exercise after remarks by Thilo Sarrazin about the country’s 2.5 million-strong Turkish minority provoked popular anger.

Last week Mr. Sarrazin, who was recently appointed to the central bank’s board, told cultural magazine Lettre International that Turks, who are three per cent of the country’s population, contributed little to the German economy and were a threat due to their high birth rate.

“Turks are conquering Germany…with a strong birth rate,” Sarrazin was quoted as saying. “I would be happy if it were a question of eastern European Jews whose intelligence is 15 per cent greater than the German population. I do not want groups within the population that do not accept the duty of integration, and on top of that it costs a lot more money.”

Speaking of the German capital, Berlin, Sarrazin added: “A large number of Arabs and Turks in this city, the number of whom has grown owing to poor policies, have no productive function aside from selling fruit and vegetables. Figures provided by the Turkish-German Chamber of Commerce indicated that the number of companies founded in Germany by Turkish citizens or Germans with a Turkish background has risen to 65,000, employing around 320,000, over the past two decades.

Interview with Selçuk Şirin: “Turkish Youths Have Multiple Identities”

In a recent study about the political identities of Turkish youths, Selçuk Şirin finds that Kurdish youths feel more discriminated against than other Turkish youths, whereas young Armenians in Turkey do not feel more political pressure than Turks of the same age. Jan Felix Engelhardt spoke to the New York-based professor of applied psychology about his findings

Selçuk Şirin: “Young people in Turkey are not buying into this split idea of left vs. right, or Islamists vs. Secularists”

Mr. Şirin, for your study “Research on Identities of the Youth” you conducted in-depth interviews about political identities with approximately 1,400 18-25 year-olds. What kinds of political identity did you investigate?

Selçuk Şirin: What we were trying to do is to understand identity as a social construct. In the context of Turkey, where we have political parties or political groups that only explain or describe their own identity in opposition to others, it is very difficult to find people who have multiple identities.

However, I was delighted when my research showed that young people in Turkey are not buying into this split idea of left vs. right or Islamists vs. Secularists. Young people in Turkey have multiple identities. They combine patterns of political identity like religious identification, the degree to which one feels part of the Turkish nation and the feeling of belonging to what we call the “secular movement” or “Atatürkism”.

In all three areas, we measured the participants’ degree of identification, not by asking them “either-or” questions, like “Do you have a Muslim identity or are you a Kemalist?”, because that is that kind of question that has created the current situation in Turkey: “Are you this or that?” In reality, people say “I like Atatürk and I also feel like a Muslim.” Young people in particular don’t see identity as an “either-or” question.

Career advice in the mosque – Labour agency collaborates with Hamburg’s mosques

Jobless rates among migrants in Germany are significantly higher than among the rest of population, and it’s especially bad for young people of Turkish origin. A mosque-based initiative in Hamburg is trying to remedy the situation. Career advisers speak after Friday prayers, trying to persuade their congregation how important it is to learn a trade or train for a profession.