'Multikulti' has failed in Germany, says chancellor Angela Merkel
By Allan Hall
The Daily Telegraph
October 17, 2010
Germany's attempts to build a post-war multicultural society have “utterly failed”, the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has said.
She broke a long standing taboo in Germany to address the immigration issue in a speech at Potsdam near Berlin.
Mrs Merkel told a meeting of the youth wing of her party at the weekend: “Multikulti, the concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it. This approach has failed, utterly.”
She spoke days after a poll showed that a third of all Germans viewed immigrants as welfare cheats.
Mrs. Merkel said: “We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity, that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here.”
She added: “Germans should also talk about their values and their increasing alienation from religion, in order to affirm their sense of country and society.”
Immigrants who did choose to live in Germany should adapt and learn German as “quickly as possible”.
Mindful of the legacy of the Second World War and racial policies that cost millions their lives, German politicians have tended only to speak in broad positive terms of the “multikulti” society.
The ratcheting up in the political tone, allied with fears among Germans about unemployment and loss of identity, prompted a warning from Jewish leaders that democracy was under threat.
The government should act against antidemocratic ideas, Stephan Kramer, secretary general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told a newspaper on Sunday.
He said the debate about immigration was making people “uneasy and scared”.
“All possible cultural circles are being stigmatised, defamed and tarred with the same brush. I find it on the one hand irresponsible and on the other, shabby,” Mr Kramer said.