Not everyone is into the entire “melting pot” idea when it comes to immigration and cultural integration. In Germany, a new plan is being rolled out which aims to preserve traditional German culture and values. In what is obviously a thinly veiled campaign aimed directly at Muslim immigrants, one Federal Minister has released a multi-point plan which will define the “dominant culture” of the nation and propose steps to make sure that new arrivals are aware of what is or is not acceptable behavior. (Daily Caller)
German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere presented a 15-point thesis Tuesday for what German culture is about.
The debate over “Leitkultur,” or dominant culture, has taken center stage in Germany ahead of the upcoming election in September. De Maiziere, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, presented his plan in an op-ed with the headline “We are not Burka” published April in Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“In language, constitution and observance of basic rights, there is something that at heart holds us together, that makes us up and that differentiates us from others,” De Maiziere wrote.
If there were any doubts as to who this message was aimed at, the “We Are Not Burka” editorial should put them to rest. The timing of this announcement as well as the person making it also seem to be part of an emerging theme. Keep in mind that the Federal Minister of the Interior is a member of Angela Merkel’s party. After hitting some serious rough stretches in regional elections, Merkel’s CDU party seems to be making a comeback but they definitely had a scare put into them by the success of the more nationalist and decidedly Christian based Alternative for Germany (AfD) which has been making major gains on the local level. It sounds like Merkel is looking to widen her appeal and expand the base by acknowledging the concerns those voters have about a massive influx of Muslim refugees and immigrants.
Meanwhile, in Austria, the government has taken this concept several steps further. In fact, they went so far as to entirely ban the burqa and institute other mandatory integration steps for anyone wishing to live there.
The Austrian parliament passed a number of integration measures Tuesday, including a ban on the burqa and mandatory German classes for migrants.
Wearing a full-face veil in public may result in a 150 euro fine ($167). Migrants will also be required to enroll in a one-year integration course where they will study the German language and learn about ethics and values in Austria.
In addition to making new arrivals speak German, Austria is “encouraging” (at least for now) immigrants and refugees to voluntarily “take unpaid work” as soon as they are settled so they can become accustomed to moving into the labor market when their resettlement is completed. Obviously they have recognized that there is a limit to how many able bodied people can be living on the dole and they want the new arrivals to blend into the workforce and contribute to the economy.
The efforts of the National Front in France may have fallen short this month, but that doesn’t mean that Europeans aren’t pushing back against the idea of borderless globalization. Many of their citizens are also clearly uncomfortable with the idea of native cultures which have been in place for many centuries being eroded. The phrase “dominant culture” probably sounds offensive to the American left, but we are a tribal people by nature and you can’t simply erase history because it fits in with your social justice agenda.