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Wallraff and Germany today

Reader comment on item: "You can't fight Islamism with ideas coming out of Europe"
in response to reader comment: A Query

Submitted by myth (Germany), Dec 2, 2010 at 05:25

Peter, back in 85 Günter Wallraff changed his appearance to work as a turk in the steel industry the Ruhrgebiet (industrial area where the Ruhr river joins the Rhine). At that time turks where seen as cheap-workforce foreigners not as muslims. Wallraff exposed that the employers showed no hesitation to exploit and mistreat the weaker parts of society, back then it was the foreigners only. In my view Wallraff displayed that it was the employers who turned him into the under-privileged turk for he himself never was one. For example he did not annoy people by speaking turkish instead of german, because simply he couldn't speak turkish. Things have changed since then, it no longer requires an oriental look to be treated like that. Turks are today more and more perceived as muslims. Looking for a job in Germany with the name Mohammed would prove easier than doing the same thing in the Netherlands or Belgium, that is my personal impression. Proof for that cannot be found in texts. It is the way the native population looks at foreigners, I am talking about the look in people's eyes that makes the difference. In Germany being turkish does not earn anyone a dark glance of rejection whereas in the Netherlands it does. Personally I feel somewhat stronger: Being in a turkish place in Berlin somehow gives me the comforting feeling of West-Germany, turks are somewhat part of us emotionally. However with younger people the situation changed over the last 25years. That is illustrated by the open rejection of oriental males by the majority of traditional-german females. That rejection is grounded in the unacceptable treatment of women in an orthodox islamic context and therefore in today's german everyday-life. On the other hand, when turkish-germans and native-germans meet in a third country they would treat each other as equals so long as both speak the german language.

As for jews Germany is very popular. Many of the immigrants from the Ex-Soviet-Union in Germany are in fact jewish. Not many people know, those who know don't care. Germany is from my experience the only country in Europe where you can openly address the issue of antisemitism, even on prime time tv. Synagoges enjoy 24hour police protection. While german politics is willing to accept risks for Israel they would not accept risks for for the resident jewish population. In the former East-Germany one will easily find young far-right youths who actually express nazi-tradtional-style anti-semitic views. There's more police attention to neo-nazis than there is to islamists.

As for the rest of the foreigners they will find a somewhat hospitable country should they learn the language. Most of the germans get the impression that other foreigners respect Germany. That respect is usually based on german cars, success in football and most of them surprisingly like the language. What makes germans suspicious is when foreigners hang out it in ethnic groups and separate themselves from the rest.

Politically islam is not a good vote-winner in Germany for no particalur party on the all-german-federal level is favoured by the muslim population. Legal islamism is restricted very much to sub-state or even city level for most of the authourity, especially police and education, act on those levels, not on the federal level. The way I understand it, things are comparable in the USA which in a similar way is multi-central big country. The anti-islam attitudes differ greatly from city to city. Berlin would be very much different from say München. But on the other hand you wouldn't easily find someone from München who would accept to live in Berlin even if there was no immigrant population at all. In a way, the local immigrant population reflects the native host-environment and then in return produces more or less anti-islamic sentiments.

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