Tyskerne har den senere tid for alvor blitt klar over at landet har fått en befolkning med en annen kultur og religion. Det bor 3 millioner muslimer i Tyskland. Gjensidig mistenksomhet, selvisolering, mentalt og geografisk, bidrar til parallellsamfunn.

Der Spiegel har besøkt Neukölln i Berlin, som kalles Lille-Istanbul av tyrkerne, og «Gaza» av mer reserverte tyskere.

Spiegel har besøkt Sonnenallee hvor alle tilbud finnes i orientalsk variant:

Most businesses that are not in the hands of Arabs are Turkish-owned: Mehmet Özçelik’s bakery, which sells sweet baklava; a Turkish Airlines travel agency; the supermarket run by Nazik Balabanoglu and her husband Ergin; the funeral home owned by Mustafa Mutlu, whose employee Islam Cenaze Servisi makes arrangements to send the bodies of deceased Muslims to their native countries or organizes their funerals in an Islamic cemetery (more…) next to the grand Sehitlik Mosque on Berlin’s Columbiadamm Street. The unemployed Turks killing time at the Taxi Café call the neighborhood «Little Istanbul.»

Being able to speak German is not a requirement for daily life in this immigrant neighborhood, where the street scene is one of bearded men wearing knit caps and women in headscarves.

Her kan man leve et liv uten å være i kontakt med det tyske:

But there is also something oppressive and ghetto-like about this Middle Eastern business district in the middle of Germany’s most densely populated Muslim neighborhood.

The Neukölln district is home to 300,000 people, and half of them live in the northern part that Sonnenallee runs through. One-third of Neukölln’s population are immigrants — including about 60,000 Muslims, who are concentrated almost exclusively in the northern section.

There are 20 mosques in Neukölln alone, out of about 80 in all of Berlin. Few of these houses of worship are recognizable as such from the outside. Most are reached through gates or rear courtyards, where former workshops and factory buildings have been converted to prayer rooms with colorful patterned carpets laid out on the floor. Sweets, tea and soft drinks are sold in adjacent shops.

Mange tyskere har ignorert det muslimske nærværet som har holdt seg for seg selv, eller søkt tilhold bak lukkede dører. Nå er det vanskelig å ignorere lenger.

Neukölln, like a specimen under a microscope, is proof positive of something that is slowly dawning on the rest of the country: Islam, this mysterious religion, both fascinating and alarming, has gained a foothold in Germany, which is now home to more than 3 million Muslims. But the close proximity between long-established Germans and outlandish Muslims is also a potential source of conflict, triggering resentment and fear on both sides.

Konsekvensene av manglende integrering begynner å bli synlige, og øker skepsisen hos flertallsbefolkningen.

But the consequences of a refusal to be integrated into majority German society are all too apparent in the neighborhoods surrounding Sonnenallee in Neukölln.

The area is the epitome of a troubled neighborhood. One in two residents are unemployed. The number of robberies and assaults has more than tripled since 1990.

Neukölln is a good place to experience the «parallel society» firsthand. It was the district’s mayor, Heinz Buschkowsky, 59, a committed Social Democrat, who first voiced this taboo term — and who was promptly criticized for his supposed violation of political correctness.

Begge parter har oversett hverandre, og oppdager nå at de ikke har utviklet regler for sameksistens.

For decades, few in Germany grappled with the issue of the country’s new Muslim residents and citizens. «Neither the majority society nor the immigrants themselves saw any need to be interested in one another and develop rules of behavior for living together,» writes Middle East expert Michael Lüders in his book «The Long Shadow of Allah.» «Both sides assumed that their interaction would only be temporary.»

Ingen vet hvor mange muslimer som bor i Tyskland. Tysk Islamsk Konferanse, DIK, anslår 3,4 millioner. De kommer i alle varianter, fra vidt forskjellige bakgrunner.

The diversity of the various persuasions within Islam is as unclear as the number of Muslims. Political scientist Stefan Luft, of the northern German port city of Bremen, stresses that the immigrants are «no homogeneous group, neither in a religious, ethnic, political or cultural sense.» The spectrum, says Luft, ranges from relatively cosmopolitan Bosnians and Westernized academics from cities like Istanbul and Tehran, to conservative Anatolian farmers and militant Islamists from Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

The vast majority of Muslim immigrants live largely inconspicuous lives among their long-established German neighbors. Nevertheless, many Germans have trouble accepting the gradual changes in their society and being in physical contact with a culture shaped by the rules of the Koran. This is because Islam, says author Lüders, «is both a religion and a way of life for devout Muslims.»

Sterkt negative

Meningsmålingene viser oppsiktsvekkende negative holdninger til muslimer blant flertallstyskere. Det stemmer dårlig med de holdningene som partiene legger for dagen, og diskrepansen er neppe sunn for demokratiet.

More and more Germans equate Islam with fundamentalism, a tendency toward violence and oppression of women. «Perceptions were already negative in past years,» a 2006 study by the Allensbach opinion research organization concluded, «but they have recently become noticeably more ominous.» According to the Allensbach study, 98 percent of Germans associate Islam with violence and terrorism, while only six percent express sympathy with Islam. Sixty-one percent do not believe that Islam can peacefully coexist with Christianity, while 83 percent consider Muslims to be religious fanatics.

Ironically, many Muslims in Germany «tend to be lax when it comes to religion,» says Katajun Amirpur, a Berlin expert on Islamic studies. According to Amirpur, religion «doesn’t play a very dominant role» in their daily life, and yet they would characterize themselves as devout Muslims — even if they «occasionally drink a glass of Arrak or Raki» and «sometimes forget one prayer or another.» They are easily their Christian fellow citizens’ equals when it comes to disobeying the commandments of their faith.

Meningsmålinger viser at feks. tyrkere mener de ikke blir godtatt som tyskere. Uansett; blant muslimer har det de senere år utviklet seg en sterkere religiøsitet.

Nevertheless, a new religious zeal appears to be taking shape among Muslims. The Center for Turkish Studies, based in the western German city of Essen, has studied the religious attachments of immigrants of Turkish descent for many years. In 2000, only eight percent of respondents described themselves as «strictly religious.» Within five years, that number had increased to 28 percent.

Men de fleste konfliktene gjelder ikke religion, men har sosial bakgrunn, mener Süddeutsche Zeitung.

«Our anti-Islamic reflex,» wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung in an editorial, overlooks the fact «that the factors that are truly of concern are mainly secular and not religious factors: the establishment of a parallel society that lives according to insular rules; the above-average birth rate of immigrants; finally, the authoritarian, male-dominated structure in their families.»

The district mayor of Neukölln knows a thing or two about that. «I’m not qualified to talk about whether Islam belongs in Europe. That’s for others to discuss,» he says. Instead, he prefers to talk about ordinary, day-to-day problems: about fathers who forbid their daughters from taking part in swimming lessons and class trips; and about 18-year-old women who are flown in from Turkey as «imported brides, because the patriarch doesn’t like the enlightened female Turkish bank employee from Neukölln.»


Eksplosjonen i satellittkanaler fra Orienten gir en ny historisk mulighet til å pleie kontakt med hjemlandet, og/eller søke religiøs input. Enhver studie av det multikulturelle samfunn må inkalkulere denne innflytelsen.

Muslim immigrants’ traditional values are reinforced by media outlets controlled by their countries of origin. Driving from Neukölln to neighboring Kreuzberg, Berlin’s legendary multicultural district, one passes through the Kottbusser Tor neighborhood. The area’s large square is surrounded by multistory apartment blocks inhabited almost exclusively by Turkish families. There is a satellite dish on almost every balcony.

More than 40 Turkish-language stations are now available in Germany. The Arab-language selection, watched in private households, cafés and cultural institutions, is only slightly less diverse.

Popular and relatively harmless options include Turkish entertainment channels like Kanal D, ATV and Show TV, with their soaps and music videos. More problematic is the religious content of channels like the Saudi-based Iqra and of some programs broadcast by Al-Manar, a television station operated by Hezbollah in Lebanon. TV5, a channel closely aligned with Milli Görüs, an influential Islamist organization in Germany, recently aired a Turkish version of the anti-Semitic Iranian series «Zarah’s Blue Eyes.»

Muslimsk ungdom har utviklet en egen protestkultur, som er lojal mot islam, og i trass mot den tyske. Den er kul på overflaten, og inspirert av rap-musikk, og macho-islamsk i innhold.

In her book «Between Pop and Jihad,» journalist Julia Gerlach writes that among Muslims in Germany, «a new youth culture has developed in which it is not seen as a contradiction to be a devout Muslim and a good German citizen. Pop Muslims may seem cool in terms of their behavior, but they are rarely liberal.»

Their music idols express themselves just as ambivalently. Muhabbet (his real name is Murat Ersen), a 23-year-old German-Turkish pop star who specializes in Middle Eastern soul («R ‘n’ Besk»), was celebrated as a poster child of successful integration — until he sparked controversy with his ambiguous comments on the murder of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh.

Last November, Muhabbet recorded a song in a Kreuzberg studio with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, with the provocative refrain: «Germany, why do you close yourself off? Germany, put your cards on the table. Do you think I will give in, do you think I won’t resist, and do you think that I will calmly and silently lay myself down on your floor?»

The most well known rapper in Islamic pop culture in Germany calls himself «Ammar 114.» The number is a reference to a sura in the Koran about recourse to Allah in times of danger and strife. The 28-year-old artist was born in Ethiopia, comes from a Christian family and converted to Islam.

Ammar’s lyrics are often very religious, but they also reflect what the Frankfurt newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau calls «a sizzling blend of hostile emotions.» His song «Wir sind Deutschland!» («We are Germany!») can be interpreted as a furious comment on the public debate over the integration of Muslims: «We are Germany, sure, we’re part of it. And it’s time we finally got our rights.»

I Neukölln går bare 1 av 2 barn i barnehave. Mange foreldre tror at ungene blir gitt svin å spise, og påvirket på en måte de ikke ønsker. Borgermesteren har satt igang med et prosjekt med oppsøkende kvinner med innvandrerbakgrunn som informerer om barnehave, kosthold osv. Foreløpig er det 80 som er utdannet, 200 er planlagt.

Güler Savran, 34, a beautician by trade, is one of the neighborhood mothers. She lives in Neukölln’s Rollberg neighborhood and is familiar with the area’s problems: that violence plays a major role in many families, that only one in two children attends daycare and that women are not permitted to make any decisions without their husbands.

Many families are afraid of government agencies and institutions. Many fear that the youth welfare office is trying to spy on them or even take away their children. To allay such fears, Savran makes it clear in her first meeting with a family that she doesn’t work for the youth welfare office.

Problemene er enorme, og myndighetene er kommet sent i gang.

Life in a Parallel Society