Nine Muslims on right-wing populism

Should I stay or should I go?

Young Muslims in Germany are feeling increasingly alienated. The AfD and the debate on Islam are reasons. But are they reasons for leaving? Dunja Ramadan spoke to nine of them

No alternative

Inas studies public administration in Berlin (photo: private)
"I am German, and I think of Germany as home. I was born and grew up here, went to school here, and now university. I think it's terrible that I should even have to consider the possibility of leaving the country, and it makes me wonder whether I belong in Germany at all," says Inas

I have given some thought to emigrating, should the political climate become unbearable. When exactly that point might come, I don't know. When I think about the options I have, my thoughts just go in circles.

I am from Palestine originally, but there is no way I can go back there. Britain used to be an option, but Brexit has made that more difficult. I also considered Canada, because it is always held up as a prime immigration country, but unfortunately I have no connection with the country at all.

I don't have many options – Inas the optionless, that's me. I am German, and I think of Germany as home. I was born and grew up here, went to school here, and now university.

I think it's terrible that I should even have to consider the possibility of leaving the country, and it makes me wonder whether I belong in Germany at all. Not everyone here has to think such thoughts, only those of us with a migration background, or those who don't look "German". (Inas, 25, studies public administration in Berlin)

 

We are a part of the whole

I began to have thoughts about maybe leaving Germany when the AfD (Alternative for Germany – right-wing nationalist, anti-immigration party) had their first successes. Today I believe that the other parties, and we ourselves as mainstream society, are responsible for their success in recent elections.

Yasir is a computer scientist in Berlin (photo: private)
"The AfD has only been successful because it provides what appear to be simple answers to complex problems. As a German Muslim, I feel shame and anger that such people can have a say in the political decision-making process," comments Yasir

The AfD has only been successful because it provides what appear to be simple answers to complex problems. Most of the other political parties have failed either to give comprehensible explanations or to come up with sensible solutions to these complex questions. As a German Muslim, I feel shame and anger that such people can have a say in the political decision-making process.On the other hand, I see gaining a stronger political voice as a major challenge for Muslims. We need to show the social majority that we, too, are part of the whole, and make them aware of what the consequences will be if Muslims are not accepted as part of Germany. We are failing to grasp the initiative in the dialogue.

Of course, in the current climate, many racists have come out of the woodwork, but they are not all racists – and it is those people I am talking about, the people whose fears can be allayed. I put my faith in the German laws and constitution to take action to counter xenophobia. (Yasir, 28, is a computer scientist in Berlin)

 

I'm staying where I am

Why should I emigrate? Just to help make the dreams of an all-white, racially pure Germany come true? I wouldn't give Petry or Seehofer the satisfaction. The presence of my body in the public sphere is my resistance, though I have to admit that every vote for the AfD makes me feel more and more like a stranger in my own country. I worry about the electoral successes of the right-wing populists.

Ozan Keskinkilic studies international relations in Berlin (photo: private)
"The CSU's policy paper on immigration is a document that openly encourages racism perpetrated in the name of a Christian-western myth that condemns black people and people of colour to the status of eternal intruders," says Ozan

Petry and her racist supporters are pushing back the limits of what is permissible and they are demonstrating just how many votes there are to be won by appealing to the right end of the political spectrum.This is what lies behind the CSU's increasing escalation of the situation with their policy paper on immigration, a document that openly encourages racism perpetrated in the name of a Christian-western myth that condemns black people and people of colour to the status of eternal intruders.

I lived in Vienna for a few years and experienced feelings of uneasiness with the rise of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO). The AfD has simply copied the FPO's success formula. If this continues, and mainstream society goes on looking for outlets for its anti-Semitism and racism, then we need hardly wonder about increasing attacks on refugees and on all those who do not have the privilege of having white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. (Ozan Keskinkilic, 27, studies international relations in Berlin)

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