At The American Conservative, Peter Van Buren explains the problem facing Germans who awoke one day to find themselves surrounded by Muslim immigrants who don’t speak German, rely heavily on state welfare, and appear to be resisting assimilation. He writes (abridged):
The German neighborhood of Marzahn is way out of town, near the end of the S-Bahn train line, in what used to be East Berlin. There aren’t many signs of the heady Cold War days, except the most obvious ones: endless rows of Stalinist apartment blocks. They’re plattenbau, housing constructed of prefabricated concrete slabs.
The fall of the Berlin Wall sent many residents west, and for years the Marzahn area was populated by Germans who could not or would not leave, abandoned by the new demands of capitalism.
The population fell from 170,000 to about 12,000.
In 2015, the near-empty neighborhood was called on to house Muslims flooding out of the Middle East and North Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to bypass the orderliness of the Dublin Convention and expeditiously take in more than one million migrants (with more to come; the backlog of asylum applications is still well over 400,000) brought the challenges of assimilation to the fore of German politics.
With the new additions, today every fifth person in Germany comes from an immigration background.
Initial enthusiasm gave way to fear amid rising numbers of new migrants. Violent protests hit the eastern city of Chemnitz, leading Merkel’s interior minister to call immigration “the mother of all political problems.”
One conservative Christian Social Union politician announced, “Islam doesn’t belong in Germany.”
The Germans in places like Marzahn, who awoke one day to find themselves living among immigrants, reacted by registering some of the strongest support for the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which helped the AfD finish third in the 2017 elections.
Read more here.
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