Sarrazin and the German Social Democrats’ stance on Islamophobia


It is the third attempt by the Social Democrats to exclude Thilo Sarrazin from their party on allegations of racism. A chance for the Social Democrats to sharpen their profile?

Sarrazin was leading as a bestselling author in Germany for a whole 21 months throughout the years 2010 and 2011. There is no comparable bestselling book in postwar Germany. Yet, the content of his book was highly critical. “Deutschland schafft sich ab,” literally “Germany abolishes itself,” proclaimed the racial inferiority of Muslims.

The fact that its author was a long-time serving member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) as well as first a senator of finance in the city of Berlin and later on a member of the German Central Bank, made it worse. For it was a nominally leftist that had normalized racism in a quite overt way. More than that, the fact that he was a social democrat played a central part in the political staging of his book.

The success of his book was especially to be accounted to the widest-circulating yellow press, the famous German Bild Zeitung and the critically acclaimed quality press, the weekly Der Spiegel. The Bild portrayed Sarrazin as a martyr against the political class, who dares to speak out against the threat posed to German society by its Muslim immigrants.

Sarrazin was widely held as a legitimate Islam critic rather than as a racist, although the major thesis of his book was that genetics and cultural differences accounted for the deficits of minorities in Germany and that their strong numerical growth would destroy the German society by making them “dumber.”

As a matter of fact, in his original manuscript, he had used the notion “race,” which he dropped after the major publishing house recommended him to replace it with “ethnicity.”

Sarrazin revealed a superficial philo-Semitism by arguing that Ashkenazi Jews would be especially intelligent. In a way, Sarrazin could connect his views to the tradition of eugenics of his German ancestors, but the larger connection to the biological-racist ideology.



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