On Saturday, October 16, 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany's attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed and called on the country's immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values. "Multikulti", the concept that "we are now living side by side," does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.
It is unclear exactly what "values" she is referring to. It appears that Merkel is attempting to clothe racist rhetoric in the guise of addressing social and economic problems.
What happened to liberal, accepting, multi-lingual Europe? Recently France outlawed the burqa, Italy expelled the Gypsies and now Germany wants to limit residents to Christians and/or to those who believe in Christian values. Why such widespread fear of foreign and cultural influences now?
Statistics show that the crime rate among those who profess to be religious is just as high as those who have no religion. Religion is one of the most divisive aspects of our modern society; yet it should be a personal private choice. To be truly even-handed in its treatment of religion, if burqas are outlawed in public, then so should all other religious identifiers, including crosses.
This kind of radicalism has frequently arisen when there has been an economic crisis, and society looks for a scapegoat.
American anti-war activist Rod Serling said it best in one of his episodes:
"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, explosions and fallouts, there are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record; prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own, for the children and the children yet unborn."
The German Chancellor should remember that Germany allowed large numbers of immigrants in 1950-60s for their cheap labor. In fact, Germany was not doing them a favor, especially after 1990 when East Germans provided much of their needed labor force. Integration is understandable but there must be tolerance for other beliefs.