Merkel: Multiculturalism is a failure

posted at 9:30 am on October 18, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

So much for multikulti, the official German policy of embracing differing cultural practices within the framework of German authority.  Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted over the weekend that the years-long approach had failed to produce a workable society.  Instead, Merkel now insists that immigrants to Germany have a duty to assimilate into German society by learning the language — and to adopt its “Christian values”:

Germany’s attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend, calling on the country’s immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.

Merkel weighed in for the first time in a blistering debate sparked by a central bank board member saying the country was being made “more stupid” by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants. …

This approach has failed, totally,” she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values.

“We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,” said the chancellor.

“Subsidising immigrants” isn’t sufficient, Germany has the right to “make demands” on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.

Interestingly, Merkel got support for at least part of her argument from Turkish President Abdullah Gul.  Gul scolded the Turkish community living in Germany for not attempting to learn the German language, telling them that they should speak it fluently and without any accent.  The two and a half million Turks should start to assimilate on language, Gul said, “in the nurseries.”

While Merkel told immigrants that they have to adopt Christian values if they want to live in Germany, she also said that “Islam is a part of Germany,” treading a rhetorical line but making a serious point.  The issue isn’t the practice of religion but the rule of law.  Germans do not allow forced marriages or other aspects of religious life more common in Islamic countries.  The multikulti policy turned a blind eye to those practices when contained within those communities, but Merkel is through with that kind of official tolerance.  The practice of free worship shouldn’t mean replacing civil law with religious law, a policy that Europe finally adopted about three centuries ago in a different context.

Merkel’s speech may be one of the more important given by a Western leader in the last several years.  It underscores that immigrants have a duty to assimilate if they want to live in another country, and that the receiving nation’s responsibilities do not include carving its nation or its laws into mini-models of the nations that the immigrants have left.  Immigrants must either assimilate and accept the social and especially legal structure of their new home, or go to a country that more fully fits their own values and practices.


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