Thilo Sarrazin’s rhetoric may be divisive and (perceived as) racist but he has made some important points about the lack of integration of many Muslim immigrants, German media commentators say. Many in Germany agree with him and believe it’s high time the government started tackling the issue, they add.
If you’re not familiar with what’s happening here, Â GoV has a bit of background on Sarazzin:
Thilo Sarrazin is a member of the board of the Bundesbank in Germany. For several years his outspoken opinions about immigrants have caused controversy â€” he has declared that Turks and Arabs are making Germany “dumber” because they have lower IQs and are more fecund than native Germans.
The hot water he found himself in as a result of all this has neared the boiling point in the last couple of weeks with the publication of his new book,Â Deutschland schafft sich ab â€” Wie wir unser Land aufs Spiel setzen (“Abolishing Germany â€” How we’re putting our country in jeopardy”). AnÂ interview with a cultural magazine prior to the book’s release brought the scalding water down on his head from both ends of the political spectrum.
Mr. Sarrazin is a member of the SPD (Social Democrats), and his party immediatelyÂ disavowed him:
The Social Democrats’ leader Sigmar Gabriel has signalled that Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin should leave the centre-left party following his latest inflammatory and anti-immigrant statements.
Crossing the Red Line /
Gates of Vienna/Read further…
Renegade Central Banker ‘Tells Devastating Story’ of Integration
On immigration in Germany:
“I don’t want the country of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be largely Muslim, or that Turkish or Arabic will be spoken in large areas, that women will wear headscarves and the daily rhythm is set by the call of the muezzin. If I want to experience that, I can just take a vacation in the Orient.”
On birthrates in Germany:
“The Turks are taking over Germany exactly as the Kosovars took over Kosovo: via a higher birth rate. I wouldn’t mind if it were Jews from Eastern Europe with a 15 percent higher IQ than the German population.”
“A large number of Arabs and Turks in (Berlin) … have no productive function other than in the fruit and vegetable trade.”
“I don’t have to respect anybody who lives off welfare but rejects the state, doesn’t do enough for his children’s education and constantly produces little girls in headscarves.”
“The lower the class, the higher the birth rates.”
On the alleged danger to Germany of a decline in education caused by immigration from Turkey, the Middle East and Africa:
“We are, on average, becoming dumber in a natural way.”
“No one needs an Opel. The car enthusiasts among you will surely confirm that.” Â (On German government efforts to save the carmaker from bankruptcy)
The leftist media Â spins like Iranian centrifuges:
- SMH: Furore as German banker attacks Jews, Muslims (that is false, he doesn’t “attack Jews”)
- Haaretz: Â Â German government leaders condemn central bank executive Thilo Sarrazin for saying that all Jews share a particular gene. (Jews share a particular gene, saying that is not anti-Semitic)
So what did he say?
This is what he said:
“All Jews share a particular gene, Basques share a certain gene that sets them apart,” Mr Sarrazin told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“Forty per cent of all births occur in the underclasses. Our educated population is becoming stupider from generation to generation. What’s more, they cultivate an aggressive and atavistic mentality. It’s a scandal that Turkish boys won’t listen to female teachers because that is what their culture tells them”, he said.
“I’d rather have East European Jews with an IQ that is 15pc higher than the German population,” he said.
From Today’s Haaretz:
- ‘Jewish gene’ theories make waves in Germany, go unnoticed in Israel (German politician Thilo Sarrazin and the Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai both believe in ‘Jewish genes,’ but only Sarrazin is castigated for his belief.)
Doesn’t stop these two fruitcakes to seek their 20 seconds in the limelight:
Stephan Kramer and Michel Friedman, leaders in Germany’s Jewish community, also criticized Sarrazin, 65, a member of the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) and former finance minister in the city-state of Berlin.
“Someone who tries to define Jews by a genetic make-up is consumed by a racist mania,” Kramer said.
“Enough already!” Friedman wrote in Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “No more tolerance for this intolerance. It’s okay to provoke thought but enough of this baiting and defamation. We don’t need any hate preachers, especially in the Bundesbank.”
Pack it in, you jerks! Get out of the kitchen if you can’t stand the heat…!
What’s at stake:
Alienating Immigrant Voters
The pressure on him to tackle Sarrazin has grown since the weekend when Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sarrazin’s comments were “completely unacceptable” and that she was certain the Bundesbank would discuss the issue. Without Merkel’s support, Weber has no chance of becoming ECB president. But sacking Sarrazin isn’t easy. It will require the support of a majority of the Bundesbank’s board, of the government and the German president.
Sarrazin is also a thorn in the SPD’s side, partly because his continued membership of the party risks alienating the hundreds of thousands of mainly Turkish Muslim immigrants who traditionally vote for the SPD. The party’s leadership on Monday launched a second bid to expel him for breaching its principles by espousing racist theories. But there are some major hurdles to expelling people from political parties in Germany, and a first attempt by the SPD to throw him out failed in March when an internal commission ruled that earlier controversial comments he had made were not sufficient grounds for an expulsion.
Several media commentators said on Tuesday that the public debate should shift away from Sarrazin and towards finding ways to improve the integration of Muslim immigrants.
Center-left SÃ¼ddeutsche Zeitung writes:
“A clever man has got on the wrong tack here with his desire to provoke, with his theories about the ‘rapid decline of the German people,’ about German women who don’t want to procreate and ethnic-genetic identities. But he has addressed a problem that will remain long after the waves of outrage have subsided: the enormous integration deficit of the Muslim minority in Germany, or at least of disturbingly large parts of it.”
“Integration will only be possible if we don’t paint horror scenarios but instead give Muslims a chance. Denying them that is not a privilege of the unhappy Herr Sarrazin.”
Conservative Die Welt writes:
“Instead of sticking to his statistics, the Bundesbank official cited embarrassing arguments about heredity to explain the poor performance of Muslim immigrants. But his statistics themselves tell a devastating story. Sarrazin has made it easy for his critics to evade the real issue. Instead of the blatant shortcomings of our policies we are now discussing whether Sarrazin is a racist or not. What a missed opportunity.”
“His book went on sale yesterday but that won’t change much. Sarrazin is already radioactive. Anyone who voices public support for him has to be of Muslim origin … if they don’t too want to be accused of racism.”
“It’s a bit like an exorcism: as if the problems will go away if Sarrazin is made a scapegoat and banished. But they won’t. And that annoys many people. The majority of them feel Sarrazin is putting his finger on problems that haven’t been tackled for years. They aren’t especially bothered by his eccentric references to biology and are happy that someone is finally speaking out. And they have a keen sense of how the media and political elites are seizing on the weak points in Sarrazin’s book as an excuse to ignore his many other arguments. That reinforces the impression that the political class doesn’t want to seriously tackle these problems. That is the real damage caused by the Sarrazin debate.”
Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
“If only a fraction of all the tremendous energy being invested in all the outrage were spent on trying to solve the problems of this aging country of immigration that is disintegrating into parallel societies, problems that Sarrazin has highlighted like no politician before him. There is little benefit in throwing him on the scrapheap of racists and anti-Semites. The division of society and disenchantment with politics … will continue if the majority of the population feels harassed, exploited and no longer understood or represented by the political parties.”
Mass circulation Bild newspaper writes:
“Thilo Sarrazin is a scandalous author. He links genes with education standards. That is scandalous. But he has spoken some stark truths about the country. Too many headscarves, too much long-term unemployment, not enough performance. The most stupid accusation being levelled at him is that he isn’t saying anything new, that it’s all already known. That amounts to an admission of failure by the political class. That is the true scandal! All the problems are known, but nothing or too little has been done.”
Left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes:
“Half of Germany is pondering how to get rid of him. That makes sense because Sarrazin is only getting all this attention because he is a Social Democrat and a member of the Bundesbank. Throwing him out of the Bundesbank and the SPD would be the right, symbolic move to draw the line. But it is unclear whether this will happen. It is a complicated process, for good reasons. Expelling people from political parties is difficult and the decisions to do so must stand up in courts. The aim of these procedures is to prevent internal party disputes from being settled through expulsions. This means Sarrazin will probably only be expelled from the SPD if the charge of racism can be clearly proven. That won’t be easy. In the end the decisive factor might not be whether a court approves Sarrazin’s expulsion — it will be the public verdict on his ideas.”
— David Crossland
- The Sarrazin Debate:Â Germany Is Becoming Islamophobic (08/31/2010)
- Immigration Debate:Â Germany Needs More Foreigners (08/30/2010)
- A ‘Jewish Gene’:Â Immigration Provocateur in Germany Crosses the Line (08/30/2010)
- The World From Berlin:Â ‘Sarrazin Has Crossed a Red Line With His Racist Nonsense’ (08/30/2010)
- ‘Injurious, Defamatory and Polemical’:Â New Book Plunges Germany into Immigration Debate(08/25/2010)