Wednesday, 08 December 2010

Majority of Austrian Turks Refuse Assimilation

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As reported previously for The New American, a recent poll of public opinion in Germany revealed that only approximately one-third of Germans have a positive view of Muslims. In addition, only 30 percent of those living in western Germany and 20 percent of the residents in the eastern portion of nation favor permitting more mosques to be built.

The negative assessment which Germans have made regarding Islam is not due to a lack of contact with Muslims; at this time, Germany has the second largest Muslim population in Europe, with 3.2 million Muslims residing in their country. Germany is now home to 2.4 million Turks, and if the views of Turks living in Germany are similar to those of Turks residing in neighboring Austria, the negative assessment of Islam uncovered in the recent poll is given some further context.

An post entitled “The Turkish Mentality in Austria” to the “Gates Of Vienna” blog presents a translation of an article from The Bavarian Courier which reveals the mentality of unassimilated Islamists living in the heart of Europe. Detlef Kleinert’s article for The Bavarian Courier — “Islam More Important Than Democracy” — demonstrates that many of the Turks residing in Austria have little interest in adopting European culture or adhering to a Western notion of a separation of secular and ecclesiastical authority. In short, according to Kleinert, a clear majority of Turks living in Austria believe that adherence to sharia law must take first place in the Austria’s legal system:

A study by the Gfk Austria (offshoot of the Society for Consumption Research based in Nuremberg) authorized by the Austrian interior ministry and recently published — “Integration in Austria” — confirms the extent to which Turkish immigrants are different from immigrants from other countries. More than half of the approximately 220,000 ethnic Turkish immigrants — 2.65% of the entire Austrian population of 8.3 million — in all seriousness demand that the Austrian justice system introduce Islamic law, i.e., sharia. For almost three-quarters (72%), following religious commandments is more important than democracy. For 57%, religious laws and regulations are more important than Austria’s. And almost half of the Turkish immigrants believe the many criminals in Austria show where democracy leads.

Although the population of Austria is roughly a tenth that of Germany, and the Turkish population proportionally smaller, the study cited by Kleinert has disturbing implications for the future coexistence of Muslims within European civilization. The future of any nation faces a profound challenge to its continued existence if any significant portion of its population fundamentally rejects of its most basic understanding of the rule of law.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments in October, stating that multiculturalism (or “multikulti”) had “utterly failed” received a predictable response from the ranks of the political correctness police, but what was often missed in her comments was her continued belief that there was a place for Muslims within German society; it was simply necessary that they assimilate into German society. As the BBC reported:

In her speech in Potsdam, however, the chancellor made clear that immigrants were welcome in Germany.
She specifically referred to recent comments by German President Christian Wulff who said that Islam was "part of Germany," like Christianity and Judaism.
Mrs Merkel said: "We should not be a country either which gives the impression to the outside world that those who don't speak German immediately or who were not raised speaking German are not welcome here."

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But Kleinert’s report on the mentality of Turks living in Austria makes it clear that an active effort by the host country to aid assimilation is not sufficient to address the underlying civilizational differences. Unlike other immigrant groups, Muslims have little interest in assimilating. In Kleinert’s words:

The study also shows: Young Turks develop a strong attachment to the subculture; they feel more strongly tied to Islam than to the society in which they live. And that is true even though in most cases they have been born and have grown up in Austria. 45% of the Turks confess to lacking sympathetic understanding of Austrian society, its lifestyle and dominant values. And about half of the ethnic Turkish population feel more bound to their old homeland than to Austria. 55% refuse a non-Turkish marriage partner for their son or daughter.
Especially interesting — and contradicting the complaints of the Turkish speakers — is the fact that other immigrants (1.4 million foreigners live in Austria) have far fewer problems with integration. While the Turks feel themselves to be only 26% integrated, with Poles for example, it is 53%. This may have something to do with chosen media. 76% of Turks watch Turkish TV daily and only 30% click on ORF (Austrian Broadcasting).

The experience of Austrians and Germans is demonstrating that despite "guest worker" programs, post-modern sensitivities, and active efforts to integrate foreign Muslims into European civilization, both nations are discovering that the task may prove impossible. Many Muslims are very clearly expressing the belief that sharia law cannot coexist with secular law, and seem prepared to reject the civilization of their host country if that is what they deem necessary to uphold their religious beliefs. If the views expressed by German citizens and Austrian Turks are any guide, the choice which may be in the future of both countries is which civilization which determine the future of their respective nations.

Photo: Nurten Yilmaz, an Austrian of Turkish origin, handing out red balloons and folders urging voters, Turkish and otherwise, to vote for her Social Democratic Party, Oct. 21, 2005 in Vienna: AP Images