Muslim refugees arriving in Germany from the Middle East have been told to abandon their anti-Semitism and prepare to learn about the Holocaust, in twin warnings issued from the highest levels of government.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said inbound immigrants must reject any lingering notions of anti-Semitism on arrival, saying acceptance of followers of the Jewish faith remains a “non-negotiable” part of the social contract with their new home.
He spoke as the government announced that it was ready to consider the idea of an anti-Semitism commisioner.
“There are things which are part of Germany. And one of these is our responsibility for our past: the lessons of two World Wars, the lessons from the Holocaust, the responsibility for Israel’s security, the rejection of any form of racism and anti-Semitism,” he said at a Hanukkah event at the Israeli embassy in Berlin.
“For this responsibility, no line can be drawn under the past for later generations – and no exceptions be made for immigrants. It is non-negotiable – for all who live in Germany and want to live here!” he added.
His call follows a new study by the American Jewish Committee’s Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations in Berlin that revealed anti-Semitism among Muslim refugees in Germany requires urgent attention. More than a million migrants have arrived in Germany in the last three years, many of them fleeing conflict in the Middle East, causing concern that anti-Semitism could rise on the back of that influx.
“Anti-Semitic thinking and stereotyping are very common … even among those who emphasize that they ‘respect’ Judaism or that there is no problem living together between Muslims, Christians and Jews in their countries of origin and in Germany,” sociologist Günther Jikeli of Indiana University and the University of Potsdam, Germany said in a statement.
Germany’s new Muslim arrivals were also told they should learn more about the Holocaust in their integration lessons.
As Breitbart News reported, Justice Minister Heiko Maas wrote in an opinion piece for weekly magazine Der Spiegel that the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed six million Jews, and its significance needed to become an even more important part of integration courses and migrants should be tested on in the examination at the end of their course.
Jens Spahn, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), told Der Spiegel he thought immigration from Muslim countries was one of the causes of recent anti-Semitic demonstrations in Berlin.
Spahn said incidents in recent days “were related to immigration from a culture in which people are not prissy about how they deal with Jews and homosexuals”.
Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: Follow @SunSimonKent or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org