Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Shape of Things to Come

The International Herald Tribune has an excellent article on multiculturalism in Berlin. Apparently, it's only a matter of time when France-style riots will brake out in Germany, too. Read it all.
There is a new wall rising in Berlin. Looking over that wall, one sees the parallel world of the Islamic suburbs. It's a world in which women, unlike some Muslim women in Europe who have risen to expansive lives, are still subject to arranged marriages and the control of their families.
To cross this wall you have to go to the city's central and northern districts, to Kreuzberg, Neukölln and Wedding, and you will find yourself in a world unknown to most Berliners.
Until recently, most held to the illusion that living together with some 300,000 Muslim immigrants and children of immigrants was basically working.
Take Neukölln. The district is proud of the fact that it houses citizens of 165 nations. Some 40 percent of these, by far the largest group, are Turks and Kurds; the second-largest group consists of Arabs. (...)
Stefanie Vogelsang, a councilwoman from Neukölln, says that residents talk about "our Turks" in an unmistakably friendly way, although they are less friendly when it comes to Arabs, who arrived after the Turks, often illegally.
But tolerance of Muslim immigrants began to change in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. Parallel to the declarations of "unconditional solidarity" with Americans by the German majority, rallies of another sort were taking place in Neukölln and Kreuzberg.
Bottle rockets were set off from building courtyards, a poor man's fireworks: two rockets here, three rockets there.
Altogether, hundreds of rockets were shooting skyward in celebration, just as most Berliners were searching for words to express their horror.
For many German residents in Neukölln and Kreuzberg, Vogelsang recalls, that was the first time they stopped to wonder who their neighbors really were. (...)

"The attacks in London," Ates says, "were in the eyes of many Muslims a successful slap in the face to the Western community. The next perpetrators will be children of the third and fourth immigrant generation, who, under the eyes of well-meaning politicians, will be brought up from birth to hate Western society."


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