The GERMAN people must make an effort to become more tolerant and understanding of migrants, one of Angela Merkel’s key aids has insisted.
By Zoe Efstathiou
Germany — Wolfgang Schäeuble has insisted that German people empathize better with migrants
Wolfgang Schäeuble as urged German people to make more of an effort to empathise with migrants, claiming that they need to understand what is important to them and how they live.
The country’s finance minister believes that encouraging German people to sympathise with immigrants is crucial to promoting inclusion and reducing the number of far-right hate crimes, protests and attacks on migrant shelters.
Schäeuble, a stalwart of Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said: “Without a doubt, the growing number of Muslims in our country today is a challenge for the open-mindedness of mainstream society.
“The origin of the majority of refugees means that we will be increasingly dealing with people from quite different cultural circles than previously.”
The 74-year-old politician also said Muslims living in Germany need to adopt a “German Islam” based on liberalism and tolerance if they are to fit in with Western culture.
It is estimated that almost one million migrants from the Middle East and Africa arrived in Germany last year, piling pressure on communities to accommodate refugees.
Tensions between German people and migrants have been running high ever since 1,200 women were sexually assaulted during New Year’s Eve celebrations in the German cities of Cologne and Hamburg.
More than half of the attackers during the New Year’s eve assaults were of foreign descent.
Two suicide bomber attacks, which took place during the summer and which ISIS claimed responsibility for, have also fuelled tensions between German nationals and Muslim migrants.
But Schäeuble insists that German people do not want to shun migrants and claimed the majority of Germans would say: “Yes, we want you to belong to us”.
He added: “We should not, in this more tense situation, allow an atmosphere to emerge in which well-integrated people in Germany feel alien.”
Schäeuble is considered to be a possible Christian Social Union candidate for Chancellor should Merkel not seek re-election next year.
The Christian Social Union party said it wants to cap the number of migrants coming to Germany at 200,000 per year.