Socks in sandals: Germans mock govt ideals for immigrant integration

Source: The Local

The Interior Minister has come under fire for his statements explaining what Germany’s ‘Leitkultur’, or “guiding culture”, should be amid discussions of immigration and integration. Here’s a taste of how his critics have responded.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière wrote in Bild’s Sunday publication ten theses describing his idea of Germany’s Leitkultur – a term meaning leading or guiding culture.

“We place value in certain social customs… We say our names. We shake hands upon greetings… We show our faces. We are not the burqa,” de Maizière wrote.

The Interior Minister described his intent in writing the piece as fostering a further discussion for the integration of immigrants.

He went on to describe Germany as a country of education, social safety nets, history, philosophy and “enlightened patriots”. And while he noted that not just Christian churches but also “synagogues and mosques” are part of the glue of society, de Maizière also described Germany as being “shaped by Christianity”.

Being a part of “the West” is also essential to this culture, de Maizière said, mentioning in particular the country’s relationship with the United States, and that Germans are also Europeans.

Politicians from outside de Maizière’s, and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s, conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) were quick to criticize de Maizière’s rhetoric, as well as the timing ahead of September’s national election.

“Debates about German Leitkultur is a beloved diversion tactic,” wrote Die Linke (Left Party) politician Katja Kipping.

“They are distracting us from what is actually urgent, like the fight against poverty.”

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