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Is hate speech/racist-xenophobic discourse a wider, more 'mainstream', phenomenon in the political sphere?

Key Area:
Political Parties-organisations - Racist & Xenophobic Discourse
13/01/2012 - 14:41
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

Hate speech or racist-xenophobic discourses do not typically characterize the policies of the established democratic parties in Germany. Nonetheless, several members of established parties have also called attention to themselves in negative ways by repeatedly making racist, anti-migrant or anti-Islamic remarks. Perhaps the most well known politician in this context is the former senator for finances of Berlin and member of the social-democratic party (SPD), Thilo Sarrazin, who has repeatedly made derogative remarks about Jewish and Muslim, especially Turkish, people. Among other things, he claimed Muslim people to have a genetic lack of intelligence denied Muslims to have the skills or capabilities to make a positive contribution to the German economy (Handelsblatt 2010; Sarrazin 2010). Another example is the former prime minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and member of the Christian Democratic Union CDU, Jürgen Rüttgers, who spoke of a missing work ethic of Romanians during his election campaign in 2009. He said that Romanian people were coming to and leaving work whenever they wanted and that they did not know what they had to do at work (SZ 2009a, 200b).

Next to issues of hate speech and xenophobic discourses in German politics, integration policies in Germany focus particularly on concerns regarding the integration of Muslims. Therefore, integration policies more and more become concerned with Islam (Tezcan 2011, p.304). After a speech of Federal President Christian Wulff in 2010, the question whether Islam was already a part of Germany, was subject of intense discussions between political parties for weeks. Especially members of the CDU/CSU disagreed with Wulff´s statement and emphasized the Christian-Jewish traditions of Germany (Baumgarten 2011; Migazin 2010). Shortly before, a debate on the prohibition of burkas had ended (Rogusch 2011). At this point of the discussion, it became quite clear that many issues related to policies concerning Islam are strongly connected to questions about internal security which is also illustrated by debates about terrorism threats (Tezcan 2011, p.306). All these discussions demonstrate that certain political groups have strong prejudices and disapproving attitudes towards Muslims in Germany.




Groups affected/interested Migrants, Roma & Travelers, Muslims, Ethnic minorities, Religious minorities, Linguistic minorities
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Anti-semitism, Islamophobia, Anti-roma/zinghanophobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Political discourse -parties - orgs
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