To say there’s been something of a cultural shift in Germany over the past 24 months is at the same time both an understatement and a bit of a mischaracterization. The crisis brought on by the flood of primarily Muslim migrants and “economic refugees” has certainly been molding the attitudes of Germans and that fact is already showing up at the voting booth. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party won sweeping victories in preliminary elections this year, trouncing the traditionally dominant coalition headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel. For her part, Merkel seems to be listening and previously began softening her stance a bit. In response to growing unrest among the public regarding the new arrivals, new policies are telling Muslim migrants to get a job and learn to speak German or lose your benefits. But is that enough to satisfy the natives?
At least one new poll indicates that it’s not. The German people are quite nervous about the overall effect of mass Muslim immigration, with substantial numbers declaring that Islam has no place in their politics or their culture. (Daily Express)
In January, 37 per cent of people said Islam did have a place in Germany, but this has dropped to just 22 per cent, according to figures released by tabloid Bild.
Meanwhile 60 per cent of voters said “there is no place for Islam” in German politics.
Attitudes toward the religion appear to reflect fear of so-called Islamisation – with 46 per cent of Germans saying they were concerned their country would be taken over by proponents of political Islam.
The AfD has released a new manifesto with the provocative title, “Islam is not part of Germany.” In it they are calling for banning the burka along with a number of other steps to prevent what some party proponents are describing as a national takeover by political Islam. This really shouldn’t come as all that much of a surprise to Merkel since the number of Syrian and north African migrants arriving in the country in 2015 topped one million people.
To put that in perspective, keep in mind that the total population of German is roughly 80 million. That would be the equivalent of almost five million new arrivals in the United States – nearly the combined populations of Los Angeles and Chicago – in a single year. To compound the issue, America is a significantly more multicultural melting pot by definition and Americans are used to a bit more of a mixed bag in terms of culture. The Germans are not, with a strong national identity and heritage which dates back far, far beyond the time when the first Europeans set foot on North American soil.
The result has been both predictable and understandable. Since the beginning of the year, European leaders have struggled to understand the rise of a movement known as PEGIDA. (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West)
Thousands of people have taken part in rallies across Germany in support of the anti-Islam movement, Pegida. German politicians appealed for the protest to be called off in Dresden, the movement’s stronghold, after last week’s terror attacks in France.
Instead, police said that a record 25,000 people took part in a silent march that was dedicated to the victims of the Paris shootings.
Across Germany tens of thousands of anti-Pegida supporters also turned out.
Terror attacks across the continent combined with lawlessness and attacks on their own soil have left many in Germany feeling that their backs are against the wall. The sense that their own government is failing to not only protect them, but to safeguard their national, cultural identity is getting closer and closer to bringing Merkel down. She needs to be listening to her own people here or face a full blown revolt.