Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Germany's Islamic Problem

This from Der Spiegel on a recent study released by Germany’s Interior Ministry on a recent survey of the attitudes of its Muslim population. Muslim’s comprise 3,000,000 of Germany’s population of 82,000,000 and is the fastest growing group in Germany. It would appear that Germany is having a significant problem with integrating its Muslim population, a minority of which appears already to be radicalized:

A new study released by Germany's Interior Ministry has added new fuel to the debate about integration of Muslims in Germany, with the report warning about the danger of radicalization of Muslims.

According to the study, which was published Tuesday, around 40 percent of Muslims surveyed had a "fundamentalist orientation," which the authors defined as a strongly religious worldview and moral values.

. . . [T]he authors saw a potential threat in a small minority with Islamist leanings: Around 6 percent of those surveyed were classified as having "violent tendencies," while 14 percent of respondents had "anti-democratic" tendencies.

Around 12 percent of the Muslims in Germany identified with a religious-moral critique of the West and supported corporal punishment and the death penalty. The report also concluded that religious beliefs are becoming increasingly important for young people.

The study, which was carried out by Katrin Brettfeld and Peter Wetzels from the Institute for Criminology at the University of Hamburg, was commissioned by the Interior Ministry in an attempt to finding out the extent to which the Muslim community in Germany provides a breeding ground for extremist groups and potential terrorists. The authors interviewed 1,750 Muslims living in Germany for the study. Of that number, around 40 percent had German citizenship.

In the introduction to the report, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble writes that the study leads to the "worrying conclusion that a serious potential for Islamist radicalization has developed in Germany." According to Schäuble, the lack of integration of immigrants into German society is leading to a "fundamental religious orientation."

The survey found that more than half of the respondents felt themselves excluded from German society and felt they were treated as foreigners. Around 20 percent had experienced some form of racism within the last 12 months.

Reacting to the study, Christine Haderthauer, general secretary of the conservative Bavarian party the Christian Social Union, said that her party "has always warned against the dangers of parallel societies. . .

. . . The Interior Ministry under Schäuble has sparked a series of controversies in recent months. Schäuble was the subject of heated criticism in July of this year when he appeared to suggest in a SPIEGEL interview that the targeted killing of terrorists might have to be considered. Schäuble's opponents have condemned him for attempting to constantly stretch the limits of what is acceptable under Germany's constitution in the fight against terror.

Other controversial positions Schäuble has promoted recently include taking terrorists into preventive custody, deploying the German army in domestic operations and searching suspects' computers online without their knowledge.

Read the story here. And there is this on Germany’s Demographics:
The German gov't is trying to encourage parents to have more kids by offering money as incentive, though this holds for both "old" and "new" Germans. The question is who would make better use of these incentives. If the purpose here is to encourage only "ethnic" Germans, I doubt this would work. Though Burhan Kesici, vice president of the Islam Federation in Berlin, is quoted below as saying that money is not an issue, it would certainly be an issue if it is offered.When a bureaucracy creates a criteria by which one is eligible to receive cash it has created a new job.Just 1.3 babies per German woman"

The German population is permanently shrinking while the foreign population is permanently growing," says Dr. Herwig Birg, a demographic expert who just retired as head of the Institute for Population Research and Social Politics at the University of Bielefeld and authored "The Demographic Time Change." "Germans will soon become a minority in major German cities [like Berlin] in the under 40 age group."A quick glance at birthrates in Germany highlights Birg's point. Immigrants in Germany -- those of Turkish origin make up the largest immigrant group in the country -- have about 1.9 children per woman. A modest rate given that demographic experts say a birth rate of 2.1 children per woman is necessary to maintain population stability. But it's productive compared to ethnic Germans. They only have a paltry 1.3 babies per woman. In other words, a dropping population isn't the only societal change currently going on in Germany.

Demographic statistics released in March by the Federal Statistics Office provided the most recent wake-up call. Only between 680,000 and 690,000 babies were born in Germany in 2005 -- the lowest number since World War II. And a quarter of the kids, according to a New York Times article, were born to women with immigration backgrounds.

Even more striking are some nuts and bolts statistics that have remained true in Germany since about the 1980s: Births here have registered somewhere in the mid 700,000s while deaths come in at around 850,000 according to Birg's research in his latest book "The Missing Generation." Meanwhile, net immigration into Germany adds up to about 200,000 per year. In other words, Germans are not only dying out, but they're slowly being replaced by non-Germans.

It's a trend that will likely only accelerate. According to projections from the Federal Office of Statistics, the country's population will shrink from its current 82 million to 70 million by 2050 assuming an annual influx of 200,000 immigrants. The population drop, combined with Germany's aging society, is likely to have dramatic effects on the country's social system and labor market . . .

Read the entire post here.

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