Thilo Sarrazin’s comments about Muslims have triggered outrage in Germany and abroad, but have met with willing listeners among the general public. His rhetoric is slowly bringing about change in Germany, transforming it from a tolerant society into one dominated by fear and Islamophobia.
Opinions may differ among those who seek to interpret Sarrazin’s behavior. The important thing is that he is someone who has gone from being a tough-talking, audacious politician and anarchic prankster (see quote gallery at the article linked above) to a racist anti-Muslim who makes up nonsense about the genetic basis of intelligence and the “German-Jewish origins of intelligence research.” Those ideas have prompted him to voice his concerns over Germany’s “cultural identity” and “national character,” and to blame Muslim immigrants and their supposed non-culture for all the problems of integration – ignoring the fact that both the immigrants and the host country have a responsibility.
“We,” he says, referring to German society as a whole, are unavoidably becoming less intelligent because Muslims, who Sarrazin characterizes as being unwilling to integrate, alien and cognitively challenged, are producing the most children in Germany.
I was reading about this guy in the Dutch newspaper earlier today where they rightfully called him “the German Gert Wilders”. This Sarrazin character worries me doubly. First, for the obvious reason: Germany has a historical experience with this kind of rhetoric that we can neither deny nor disregard as unimportant. Secondly, and perhaps something not entirely known outside Europe, hate speech is forbidden in many countries across the continent. Mein Kampf is even banned as a book. Ever since I learned this little bit of information (years ago, when I moved here), I became alarmed: how are they supposed to learn to identify hate and the dangers inherent to it if the books and materials that actually give hate a voice are banned? Sure, students are allowed to read the books under very strict conditions (annotated and under the guidance of a teacher) but the reality is that all they have done through these laws is fetishize the ideology. Turn it into the forbidden fruit and, potentially, give these hate preachers the opportunity to become martyrs of censorship.
I thought the most dangerous ideologue we had in Europe at the moment was our local talent, Wilders. It seems I might have been wrong.
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