Germany must integrate Muslims because otherwise it will have a parallel society that leads to the neighborhoods where they will become the hotbeds of terrorism, says László Marácz, assistant Professor of European Studies at University of Amsterdam.
The issue came to the fore last week when it was reported that an increasing number of German canteens, nurseries, and schools have taken pork off the menu, citing religious considerations and the fear of offending Muslims.
RT: What do you make of this initiative? Is it really on the menu of concerns when it comes to integrating immigrants into the EU? Do you think that German culture is in danger and by who?
László Marácz: You can think that the meat issue is just a minor issue, but it seems to me that it is an element of a much larger pattern that makes authorities accommodate to especially the Islam people coming to Europe. So, that’s a problem.
Petr Bystron from Alternative for Germany party (AfD) commented on the issue: “This is a question of integration. We have schools where Muslims are minority and they are removing pork from the menu. This is the question of who should be integrated into the society and how? It is not so much about the pork and meat, but the hard question is: are we not doing that integration in a wrong way?"
RT: Do you think Europe as a whole will change in the face of the influx of Muslim refugees? Isn’t it that Europe invited those people? Isn’t it appropriate to accommodate those invited?
LM: Yes, that’s right, but we also have a European way of life, we have our own laws and customs. And in recent years we have seen that, for example, in the healthcare people from the Islam faith are not supposed to be treated by doctors. We have seen separate swimming classes for women from the Islam faith. So this is making the society more separate. I think it is a very bad development and I think that our authorities are to blame for it. These people have been invited by our political leaders.
RT: The German Chancellor herself has said that multiculturalism has failed. She's the one welcoming refugees into the country. How do you suppose she plans to settle them once they are in?
LM: I am not convinced of the fact that our policymakers are fully aware of the things they are doing… Here we see policymaking elite who have been making blunders all the time. You cannot integrate people that have a completely different culture. So we cannot change our way of life, we cannot do away with our customs. So, of course, we cannot fully assimilate people, that’s also something we cannot do in modern times where you have these transnational identities with Ipods and Internet. But we need to integrate these people because otherwise we will end up with a parallel society leading to the neighborhoods… where they will become the hotbeds of terrorism of tomorrow.
There is even a joke in Germany: At a press conference it is announced that the famous Oktoberfest in Bavaria will be now held without beer, and that would be a consequence of such a kind of integration.”
RT: While some local authorities make genuine efforts to accommodate Muslims in Germany, attacks on refugee centers have been wide spread. How polarized is EU society right now? Where do you think it is going to go?
LM: I think we will have parallel societies, which are extremely bad, I think, because it will give anarchy, fragmentation, it will give distrust in society. I think the society can only function in a proper way when people trust each other and trust the authorities. With allowing all sorts of customs that are not in accordance with our European laws, we will have parallel societies. And these societies will be very uncomfortable to live in.