The Man Who Divided Germany: Why Sarrazin's Integration Demagoguery Has Many Followers

Part 3: Unproven Assertions and Bogus Correlations

Photo Gallery: Sarrazin's Book Divides Germany Photos
AFP

Klaus Malte is a teacher at a secondary school in Neukölln. Malte isn't his real name -- his principal doesn't want teachers talking to the press. He is a quiet man, liberal and civic-minded.

He says that Sarrazin is "basically right," but that the way he expresses his ideas is "too drastic." Malte's students are almost all from Turkish, Lebanese and Palestinian families, and almost all attend Koran schools. Some speak German well while others don't speak it at all. Malte describes his students as "relatively uneducated" but "not completely disinterested" and "of completely normal intelligence." The boys, he says, "almost all have previous convictions."

Malte says that while he gets along with them well, their real problems begin after school. Hardly any of the boys are able to land an apprenticeship once they finish school. Most of the Turkish students end up working in their uncles' fruit and vegetable businesses, while the Lebanese work as car mechanics. The girls "get married and disappear." The school, says Malte, is basically producing laborers and housewives.

Sarrazin accurately describes many of the country's social problems in his book. It is true that a portion of immigrants have little education and poorly integrated into the German labor market. It is undeniable that some welfare recipients not only lack money, but also discipline and motivation. And it is also true that with declining birthrates, Germans are becoming older and frailer on average.

Highly Contestable

Nevertheless, the book, which uses a deluge of numbers, tables and statistics to give the impression of scholastic ardor, is highly contestable in many instances. It contains wrong conclusions and erroneous assumptions, unproven assertions and bogus correlations.

Sarrazin, for example, writes that Germany's population will be 20 million in 2100. Yet demographers estimate that there will be 46 million Germans in 2100.

Even more questionable is the model calculation with which he attempts to substantiate his theory that Germany is inexorably on the road to becoming a country dominated by foreign immigrants. He frightens his readers by claiming that in 120 years, migrants from Africa and the Middle East will make up more than 70 percent of the population.

But he bases this model calculation on assumptions that have already been outmoded. For example, the birth rate among immigrant women is significantly lower than Sarrazin assumes, and his estimate of an annual immigration figure of 100,000 people from Africa and the Middle East also hasn't been accurate in a long time. Since 2006, more Turks have been leaving the country than coming to Germany. Over 8,000 Turks left Germany in 2008 alone.

Sarrazin's conclusion that the immigration of guest workers in the 1960s and 70s was "a huge mistake" is no less preposterous. Not only does it contradict the relevant studies, but it also defies common sense. The immigrants of that era were the ones who worked in Germany's factories and on its construction sites, instead of adding to the ranks of the unemployed and recipients of welfare benefits. In fact, they worked and paid their taxes and social security contributions.

Foreign Criminals?

Leaping to conclusions on the basis of statistical relationships is one of Sarrazin's biggest weaknesses. For example, he concludes that because immigrants are generally not as well educated as Germans, they are also less intelligent. Oddly enough, he also points out a completely different relationship elsewhere in the book: The PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) test results were worse in Berlin than in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg, even though there were more immigrant children in Baden-Württemberg's schools.

Sarrazin frequently cites the example of crime among foreigners. He claims that "20 percent of all violent crimes in Berlin are committed by only 1,000 Turkish and Arab adolescent criminals," and that there is empirical evidence to support his contention.

When Naika Foroutan, a political scientist at Berlin's Humboldt University who has studied the Muslim population for years, contacted the office of Berlin's chief of police to verify Sarrazin's claim, she discovered that it was completely erroneous.

Some 18,899 violent crimes were committed in Berlin in 2009, including robberies, rapes, assaults and murders. According to the statistics, Turks and Arabs were suspects in 1,651 cases, or 8.7 percent. Even if all suspects whose ethnicity was unknown were included in this figure, no more than 13.3 percent of all violent crimes could be linked to suspects with Turkish, Arab or unknown origins.

Uninterested in Dialogue

Of course, the percentage of those crimes that were committed by young violent criminals is even lower. Sarrazin's claim cannot be verified "with the official police criminal statistics, even if nationalities are defined narrowly or citizen is defined broadly," says Peter-Michael Haeberer, head of Berlin's regional police office.

In the spring, Foroutan was attending a dinner in Berlin where Sarrazin, also a guest, was presenting his claims, including the incorrect figures on violent crime. A few days later, Foroutan wrote him a letter, sent him a list of Internet addresses and invited him to meet with her to discuss his figure. Sarrazin wrote a polite response but was uninterested in a dialogue.

Sarrazin essentially bases his conclusions on the information in the German microcensus, which was his first mistake. There are many studies in Germany on population and on the number of foreigners living in the country, but only one that addresses "Muslim Life in Germany" (the title) at length. The study, compiled by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, was released in the summer of 2009 and offers a far more differentiated picture.

One of Sarrazin's central assumptions is the claim that Turks represent an ever-greater share of the German population. He writes: "It is correct that birthrates are declining among Germany's second generation of women of Turkish origin. However, constant immigration from abroad ensures that the trend toward declining birthrates is broken."

Sarrazin claims that he is "mainly interested in clarity and accuracy" in his book, but in many places the facts he cites are anything but clear and accurate. For example, Sarrazin calls marital behavior a "gauge of willingness to integrate." "Things are not looking good in this respect," he writes, "because only 3 percent of young men and 8 percent of young women with Turkish immigrant backgrounds marry a German partner, as compared with 67 percent among ethnic Germans from Russia."

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1. Sarrazin's genetic claims have truth
eric99 09/06/2010
This was an interesting article and it's about time that the debate on unassimilable immigrants is taking place. Although I haven't read Sarrazin's book, and am only commenting on the article, I generally agree with what he says and found the article seemingly objective. However, the comments by Diethard Tautz appeared absurd to me. He either has no knowledge of genetics or else is using his knowledge in the name of an ideology. Anyone with the slightest interest in genetics would know that each race and cultural group can be generally identified to a large extent by their genetic haplogroup. One can easily search the web and look up sites such as the National Geographics Genographic Project, DNATribes, FamilyTreeDNA, and others and order a kit and test one's own haplogroup. Groups such as Jews (who want to know if they are Levites, Israelite, Ashkenazi, Sephardim, Mizrahim, Cohens, etc) and Mongolians (who want to see if they are related to Genghiz Khan) are great users of these types of services. And yes, Basques have their own genetic identity. Apparently the author of this article had no knowledge of this or else would have either challenged Tautz's claims during the interview, or else provided explanations to the readers about the errors of his claims.
2.
josepht 09/10/2010
I concur with those who scrutinize his statistical claims. Germans have always been a hard working, studious bunch. It’s part of their culture. It will take more than a generation or two to assimilate foreigners. The family learning environment is key. If you can pluck a child out of a poor learning environment and give them something better…that works. I’ve seen it firsthand time and again. The problem is the parents of the child immigrants. They are likely more lazy and uneducated...because that's how they were raised in their home countries. That mind set is transferred to the kids. The only fix is to ramp up education for migrant adults. They should be taught to learn both German & English, and to learn a skilled trade or earn a professional degree. Do Germans care? Do the migrants care? In the end it’s up to them. Any notion of genetic inferiority is a cop out. People will learn…if they’re provided an environment to do so. People will work…if they see the fruits of their labor. A major problem with the German mind set is intolerance and lack of patience. This in and of itself is a behavior disorder that can be destructible to not only to the family structure, but also to immigrants who live in Germany. Germans need to realize they are not the only smart people in the world. For example, it is widely known they excel in mechanical engineering. On the other hand, Germany lags significantly in the field of electrical engineering. In today's world one without the other is not acceptable. The same could be said about social interaction with foreigners. For example, America is a melting pot. Every flavor of world citizen calls that country home. The benefits of such an environment cannot be denied. Granted there are intermittent problems, but they are openly discussed and worked out in the vast majority of cases. This brings me to my next point: Many Germans lack this sense of openness and simply do not assimilate well with others who are not like them. This is a cultural problem not an intellectual problem. As an employee in an American software company, we strongly rely on our development teams from around the world. Simply put, we seek out the brightest minds. We know first hand that intelligence and learning determined by how an individual is raised and educated, not simply by the shade of their skin. For Germany to progress it must overcome the backward notion of isolating those who are different. Rather, they should embrace the best that humanity has to offer and work on continuously improving their fellow citizens. Anything less is lazy policy at the national level.
3. Another disconnect
verbatim128 09/11/2010
---Quote (Originally by sysop)--- Thilo Sarrazin's controversial new book on Muslims in Germany has not only generated opprobrium from the political elite, it has also generated a mass following from the population at large. The tome may be full of inaccuracies, but it has struck a nerve. By SPIEGEL Staff http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,715876,00.html ---End Quote--- The Man Who Divided Germany? Thilo Sarrazin has, at worst, pointed at the existing division. He is blamed for a bit too much, something he dared reveal, a critical view from many in the population at large of what the political class decided to ignore: Multiculturalism taken too far and left unattended by the political class and pundits alike. Sarrazin's so called "integration demagoguery" may have just found the so called "followers", never noticed or dismissed outright before. He seems to be just as surprised as those who lament (envy?) that he, Sarrazin, is not alone in the great schism against political correctness. The Spiegel Staff who wrote this piece failed to explain the most important question of their own by-line, the WHY. Why, all of a sudden so many followers? Perhaps some "gene" shared by so many people who are tired of being taken for fools? Sorry, I could not resist that cheap shot. And that brings me to the sad lament of my own. The writers went into disputing, perhaps some not-so-scientific aspects of Sarrazin's claims, with bogus arguments--as eric99 pointed out aptly before me. But for good measure, and this disappoints me from Spiegel, they failed to provide the context of their quotes from Sarrazin's statements, namely the interview in which he mentioned the genes, indeed failing to provide the full quote which mentioned the Basques not only the Jews as said to have unique genes. And there are more examples of the same out of context use of Sarrazins words. I will not venture to speculate whether this was done on purpose or out of lack of intellectual fairness and curiosity. Just another disconnect. But without being dramatic about it, ignore the so-called followers at your peril: they will be harder and harder to dismiss than poor Thilo Sarrazin.
4.
BTraven 09/15/2010
---Quote (Originally by eric99)--- This was an interesting article and it's about time that the debate on unassimilable immigrants is taking place. Although I haven't read Sarrazin's book, and am only commenting on the article, I generally agree with what he says and found the article seemingly objective. However, the comments by Diethard Tautz appeared absurd to me. He either has no knowledge of genetics or else is using his knowledge in the name of an ideology. Anyone with the slightest interest in genetics would know that each race and cultural group can be generally identified to a large extent by their genetic haplogroup. One can easily search the web and look up sites such as the National Geographics Genographic Project, DNATribes, FamilyTreeDNA, and others and order a kit and test one's own haplogroup. Groups such as Jews (who want to know if they are Levites, Israelite, Ashkenazi, Sephardim, Mizrahim, Cohens, etc) and Mongolians (who want to see if they are related to Genghiz Khan) are great users of these types of services. And yes, Basques have their own genetic identity. Apparently the author of this article had no knowledge of this or else would have either challenged Tautz's claims during the interview, or else provided explanations to the readers about the errors of his claims. ---End Quote--- Perhaps you are right with your statement that ethnics can be distinguished by genetic material because every group has a special feature which makes it possible to indicate where someone belongs to. The problem is Sarrazin concludes from it that ethnics have different IQ. According to an organisation which represents all scientists who work in that field it is a wrong conclusion. http://idw-online.de/pages/en/news384817
5. Lets examine basic assumptions.
distantdrummer 10/06/2010
In Canada we have "multiculturalism", in Germany "integration". Why are these things simply taken for granted? Are they somehow inevitable? Is there some law of nature that states that every country must absorb the surplus population of other countries? Political refugees is one thing but allowing a flood of immigrants from war-torn countries into the society your forefathers spent their lives building up seems illogical. Why don't they fix the problems in their own country instead of just jumping ship? Is it safe to assume that as soon as the host country begins to resemble their native country too much, they will move on?
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Graphic: Muslims in Germany Zoom
DER SPIEGEL

Graphic: Muslims in Germany


A Brief History of Integration in Germany
1949 -- The Constitution
The German constitution comes into force. Cognizant of Germany's Nazi past, the "Basic Law" provides for far-reaching asylum rights that include constitutionally guaranteed individual rights to sue for asylum.
1960 -- Recruiting Abroad
Some 280,000 workers from abroad are already employed in Germany. But more are needed. Recruitment agreements are signed in 1960 with both Greece and Spain.
1961 -- The Berlin Wall
The construction of the Berlin Wall puts an immediate stop to the flood of people flowing into West Germany from East Germany, meaning that new sources of labor must be found. Germany signs a recruitment agreement with Turkey.
1964 -- One Million Guest Workers
Armando Rodrigues from Portugal becomes the 1 millionth guest worker in Germany. He is given a moped as a welcoming gift.
1966 -- East German Recruitment
East Germany too needs to recruit workers from abroad to help with reconstruction. Between 1966 and 1989, some 500,000 people are brought in, mostly from Vietnam, Poland, Mozambique and other countries.
1971 -- Residency Made Easy
The West German government eases rules for residency permit applications. The change makes it easier for immigrants to stay in the country and leads to many of them bringing their families to Germany.
1973 -- The Oil Crisis
Due to the oil crisis and the concurrent economic slowdown, Germany ceases recruiting new guest workers from abroad. The German labor market is saturated with 2.6 million guest workers.
1983 -- Going Home?
The government of Chancellor Helmut Kohl passes a law that provides financial assistance to those guest workers who want to return to their home countries. But the law does not result in the wave of returns the government had hoped for.
1990 -- Fall of the Iron Curtain
With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of communism in Eastern Germany, tens of thousands of ethnic Germans from the former Soviet bloc stream into newly reunified Germany and dominate immigration for a time.
1993 -- Xenophobic Attacks
Five people with Turkish backgrounds die in Solingen, Germany following an arson attack on the house they were living in. It was one of several xenophobic attacks in the early 1990s, including ones in Hoyerswerda, Rostock-Lichtenhagen and Mölln.
1999 -- Petition against Dual Citizenship
During the runup to a state election in Hesse, conservative politician Roland Koch -- who would go on to win the vote and become state governor -- caused controversy with a petition campaign against allowing immigrants in Germany to hold dual citizenship. The campaign was criticized for being xenophobic.
2000 -- Launch of Green Card Program
Then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder announced a "green card" program, which was aimed at recruiting 20,000 IT specialists from outside the European Union. The move sparked a new debate on immigration.
2001 -- 9/11 Attacks
After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the issue of security came to dominate the immigration debate. Immigrants were increasingly presented as being a risk rather than an opportunity for Germany.
2005 -- New Immigration Law
The so-called Immigration Law came into effect. It laid down new rules for immigration and included measures to promote integration within German society, such as the right to attend an "integration course."
2006 -- First Islamic Conference
Then-Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble held the first Islamic Conference. It led to the founding of a new umbrella group representing Muslims, the Coordination Council of Muslims in Germany. Previously, Muslims living in Germany had not had a unified lobby group to represent their interests.
2006 -- Citizenship Tests
The states of Baden-Württemberg and Hesse introduced so-called "citizenship tests." Foreigners living in those states who wanted to become German citizens were obliged to correctly answer a series of questions about Germany.
2010 -- Diverse World Cup Team
Eleven of 23 players on Germany's national football team at the World Cup in South Africa came from immigrant families, including Mesut Özil, Marko Marin and Miroslav Klose. The diverse team was hailed as a symbol of multiculturalism in German society.
Thilo Sarrazin's Urge to Provoke

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