The World From Berlin: 'Sarrazin Has Crossed a Red Line With His Racist Nonsense'

German newspapers have poured scorn on Thilo Sarrazin, the Bundesbank board member who has published a book claiming Muslim immigrants are undermining German society. His words are racist and divisive, say some editorials. Others say he is voicing important points, albeit in the wrong tone.

Sarrazin's new book: "Germany Does Away with Itself: How We Are Gambling Away our Country." Zoom
AP

Sarrazin's new book: "Germany Does Away with Itself: How We Are Gambling Away our Country."

Chancellor Angela Merkel has joined a chorus of criticism of Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin for claiming in a book released on Monday that Germany is in decline because of its Muslim immigrants. Merkel said in a television interview on Sunday that Sarrazin's choice of words in the integration debate was "completely unacceptable."

"He is making a discussion of these issues much more difficult," Merkel told the German public television station ARD. "The words being used here divide society."

Sarrazin, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, provoked further criticism at the weekend by saying in a newspaper interview that "all Jews share a certain gene."

Sarrazin, a former minister of finance for the city-state of Berlin, has repeatedly caused controversy by criticizing Turks and Arabs in Germany. The latest controversy has led to renewed calls for him to be sacked from his Bundesbank job and evicted from his party.

Thilo Sarrazin's Urge to Provoke

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In his book, Sarrazin argues that Muslims undermine German society and that young Muslim men are aggressive due to sexual frustration.

Some media commentators call Sarrazin's comments racist, divisive and misguided and one even draws parallels between his book and Hitler's "Mein Kampf." But others direct their criticism more at his choice of words, and voice qualified agreement with the points he makes.

Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"Sarrazin says Germany is endangering its future because it has allowed too many poorly educated immigrants into the country. Efforts to combat the poor education and cultural segregation are in vain, he says. A single man can allow himself such fatalism. But a society must not succumb to such tempting simplifications (…). Germany needs its immigrants -- highly qualified ones and the less skilled ones who are here in the second and third generations. The decline in the birth rate is too dramatic to allow a large proportion of youths of Turkish and Arab origin to leave school without qualifications."

"Business federations have long been pushing for increases in the immigration of highly qualified people. They should also be pushing the government to stop the drift of immigrants of the second and third generation into 'parallel societies.'"

Left-wing Die Tageszeitung writes:

"He is without doubt a racist. Unlike other opponents of Islam, Sarrazin doesn't just believe in a 'clash of cultures' and voice shrill warnings about 'over-alienation' by Muslims. He goes further by attributing cultural and social differences mainly to genetic dispositions. By voicing this nonsense Sarrazin has finally crossed a red line. The general outrage coming from Angela Merkel, the Central Council of Jews and all political parties is as understandable as it is justified."

"The case of Sarrazin raises difficult issues: What should be done if 65 years after the banning of 'Mein Kampf' another treatise of racial theory turns into a bestseller in Germany?"

The newspaper says that Sarrazin should be thrown out of the Social Democratic Party and fired by the Bundesbank. "That would make it clear that Germany has learned from its history."

Conservative Die Welt writes:

"He is right on many counts. (…) One has to be appalled at a growing, passive-aggressive underclass, about miserable educational achievements and also about Turkish and Arab immigrants who refuse to integrate and to get an education. Even if many people claim that all this has long been known, nothing has been done. We still lack the political will to tackle this unpleasant conflict.

"It is hard to activate the underclass, to create a positive, productive mood. One has to be tough and honest, but one mustn't argue in static technocratic terms like Sarrazin. And one has to stay optimistic. Bitterness and fatalism are poor advisers."

Left-wing Frankfurter Rundschau writes:

"The hobby author Sarrazin is responsible for risk control in the most important central bank of the euro zone. Such an office cannot seriously be carried out by someone who no one takes seriously anymore in the financial sector."

-- David Crossland

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1. The mistake of generalization
verbatim128 09/05/2010
---Quote (Originally by sysop)--- German newspapers have poured scorn on Thilo Sarrazin, the Bundesbank board member who has published a book claiming Muslim immigrants are undermining German society. His words are racist and divided, say some editorials. Others say he is voicing important points, albeit in the wrong tone. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,714555,00.html ---End Quote--- It appears to me that the reaction is just as guilty of generalization as the provocative statements that caused it. To dismiss outright as "Racist Nonsense" some opinions which, blunt and strident as they may be, are in large part fact-based, that is wrong, that is hiding your collective heads in the sand. Look where the screams for punishment are coming from. Ask which gulag they would like Mr. Sarrazin sent to, if only they could, for speaking his mind. Then think of next time you may want to speak your own, what will happen then? Of course, there is the alternative choice: never speak your mind, for fear that it may cross the good old red line.
2.
BTraven 09/09/2010
---Quote (Originally by verbatim128)--- It appears to me that the reaction is just as guilty of generalization as the provocative statements that caused it. To dismiss outright as "Racist Nonsense" some opinions which, blunt and strident as they may be, are in large part fact-based, that is wrong, that is hiding your collective heads in the sand. Look where the screams for punishment are coming from. Ask which gulag they would like Mr. Sarrazin sent to, if only they could, for speaking his mind. Then think of next time you may want to speak your own, what will happen then? Of course, there is the alternative choice: never speak your mind, for fear that it may cross the good old red line. ---End Quote--- I do not know how the Spiegel has managed to find piles of his book since it had been out of print on the date it was available. There must be many people who want to have it in their bookshelves, and I would not wonder when many of the so-called “Bildungsbürger” put it next to their Brockhaus or Meyer encyclopaedias. For them, Sarrazin is an hero, the only politician who is ready to defend the values they were brought up with. Every generation of “Bildungsbürger” has, what is better to use Sarrazin’s characteristic style, a special gene which, of course, inherits every person whose parents grew up in such an environment therefore they regard themselves as highly educated, too. It is called arrogance gene. Persons, especially the older ones, who own it are able to recite Goethe poems and can sing the most known folk ballads. I hope I could calm you. There is no reason to fear that Mr. Sarrazin could be deported to Norilsk.
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