The Integration Puzzle What a Million Refugees Mean for Everyday Life

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?

The New Germany: Within only 12 months, over 1 million people moved to Germany. How will they integrate?


Part 2: Integration 101

Slim Boutaieb, 47, teaches immigrants in Munich the basic principles of German culture.

What is the first thing immigrants to Germany need to know, Mr. Boutaieb?

Slim Boutaieb helps his fellow Arab Muslims in Munich understand Germany. Born in Tunisia, he moved to the Bavarian capital in 1992. He, too, had to first get his bearings in a foreign country. Now, Boutaieb wants to pass along the lessons he's learned. His contribution to integration is 924 kilobytes in size and 16 pages long. It's a PowerPoint presentation in German and Arabic, an "Integration 101" of sorts, which he takes with him when he visits refugee shelters.

Slide No. 7 is about openness. New arrivals have to get to know the people around them and give their culture a chance. "I tell them they can forget the rules and norms that applied back home. Germany is different," Boutaieb says.

Slide No. 9: Language. "Language is the biggest barrier if you want to come into contact with the Germans," says Boutaieb. He encourages people to go and talk to Germans even if their language skills aren't yet polished.

Slide No. 11: Germany's democratic culture. One must respect the freedom of others, he tells the new arrivals. Everyone here is permitted to worship however he or she wants, and people are allowed to drink, party and have fun. At the same time, solidarity is held in high regard. Germans live by the credo: "If someone has fallen, help pull them back up again."

Slide No. 13: The rule of law. There is little or no corruption; human rights are respected, as is equality for women. Boutaieb tells his audience that in Germany, sometimes it's the man's turn to cook, vacuum and clean. The men often chuckle when he says that.

Discuss this issue with other readers!
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spiegelerin 02/21/2016
1. HOW do you integrate them?
I just saw a photo of Africans squatting on a boat waiting to come over and another load of them waiting in Libya. (Kaddafi said, watch what happens when they just hop over to Europe.) They are going to take an integration course and live well in hyper independent Germany? I don't think so. They are adults with different norms. When it comes to women, when it comes to how to cure AIDS (sleeping with virgins) when it comes to noise in the streets...the cultures will not harmoniously merge and European culture will have to deal with becoming less woman friendly, louder and so on...I don't see this happening at all well, but apparently "mixed" societies like in France and Belgium work 'well enough." But more are coming and I don't see harmony, at least not for people with European norms. Will this one get published? It's MY opinion, not that of SPON.
artvent 02/21/2016
2. Muslim Refugees
I'm sorry for these people, but you must realize they will live in their own ghettos and because of their religion will never assimilate - they will not contribute to your society because they are mostly uneducated and they will not respect their host nation. Just look at France if you want to see the problem. Most of all I feel sorry for the German people and what will happen to Germany in the years to come after this invasion. You will lose your identity.
bartelbe 02/21/2016
3. it won't work
You want to know what integration looks like? Integration is mixed families, it is muslim girls dating, sleeping with, marrying and having families with German men. That isn't going to happen, because if a muslim girl amoung these "refugees" decided to date a German man she would be dishonouring her family and would be punish. Let that sink in, your new arrivals reguard you with such contempt that if one of their female relatives dated one of your young men, it would be seen as a form of dishonour. If it was the other way round you would condemn that attitude as racist, but no doubt it will be swept under the carpet just like the events in Cologne. Sex and relationships reveals the truth about how people feel. Your new arrivals are not interested in integration, and they do not respect your culture. That is the truth and no amount of PC censorship will change that.
nsmith 02/22/2016
4. Integration Doesn't Happen Overnight...
Germany is going to find out that Integration is not as easy as "Wir Schaffen Das!" The United States of America was built on that same principle over 300 years ago, and we're still having problems with it.
spiegelerin 02/24/2016
5. The next task is to integrate them...
Yes, one integration course and they will learn European values of not grabbing women, of not thinking that women alone have no honor...One integration course and they won't be the desperate people who don't respect barriers, who don't jump trains. No, if You don't give them money and take care of their needs, they are going to get angry. Just take care of them, at any cost.
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