(Max 400 Words)
In recent years multiculturalism has been a fiercely controversial topic in Germany. 1 in 5 people currently living in Germany comes from an immigrant background, quite a staggering number if you think about it. You would have thought that this would have led to a well-blended society in which Germans freely interact and get on with Turks, Poles and elsewhere. However this is unfortunately not the case, as even Angela Merkel confessed that “attempts to build a multicultural society have utterly failed.” Even though those comments were made in 2010, it is clear to see that they still apply. Surveys suggest that a considerable number of Germans are opposed to the idea of immigration, with 30% believing their country was being “overrun by foreigners.” This damning indictment points towards a lingering xenophobia in parts of Germany and which is being ignored. But what exactly is causing multiculturalism (which has been significant and far more successful in other European countries like England and France) to fail so drastically in Germany? Many believe that immigrants need to do more to integrate themselves properly into German culture. As any language student would have studied in detail, it is absolutely key to learn the language in order to integrate oneself effectively, and there is evidence that this is not happening in Germany. A public debate occurred between former German president Christian Wulff and the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, who claimed that Germany weren’t doing enough to help Turks, who form the largest ethnic minority in Germany, to integrate. Another reason for this failure is perhaps the differences in religion. Turks are generally Muslims, however a survey as recent as 2012 showed how differing their beliefs are to Christians, with 51% (of German Turks) believing that homosexuality was a sickness, while 62% prefer to maintain social contact only with fellow Turks. This is clearly problematic if immigrants are unwilling to integrate themselves with the natives and their culture, however the fault must not lie solely at their feet, and it is clear that Angela Merkel, or Joachim Gauck, the current president, need to do something to help the 16 million immigrants that live in their country.