Muslims are treated as foreigners in Germany foremost due to the fact that they are usually easily visually recognized. There is a lot of stereotyping of people who look Middle Eastern and, specifically, follow Islam. As noted in the video (PBS, 2010), according to public opinion polls, Muslim people are associated with violence and religious fundamentalism. Given the fact that a big amount of population in Germany today is secular, this makes Muslim community in Germany ‘different’ from the rest of population.
One of the most significant cultural barriers that Muslims face in Germany is the language barrier. As mentioned in the video, it is common for second generation immigrants not to speak any German, which creates strong problems in terms of social and economic integration. In addition to this, whilst on the level of government Germany does not have any policy that aims to decrease the rates of immigration as a result of Nazi past, Germany population is often not very accepting of immigrants and ‘other’ them.
It is possible to assume that young Muslims describe themselves as more religious than their parents due to identity crisis. Namely, they find themselves in the new environment that does not accept them, yet they did not have enough time to build strong ties in the country of their origin, unlike their parents. Higher rates of religiosity are thus an attempt to find one’s identity and acquire a better feeling of belonging.
As mentioned in the video, out of all industrial countries, Germany does the worst job in terms of providing equal job opportunities for immigrants. Economic exclusion often leads to social exclusion because it does not give one an opportunity to create the so called ‘weak’ social ties with people at work. As a result, the system of informal segregation is reinforced.
- PBS. (2010). Muslims in Germany. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/video/1559885543/