On air: Thilo Sarrazin live from Berlin
This programme was broadcast on January 18th 2011. Listen to the programme.
Those of you who know of Thilo Sarrazin are certain to have strong opinions on him. When his name came up during yesterday's programme in Berlin, there was a notable frisson among the group. He talks about subjects - Muslim integration, racial groups varying in their ability to learn, the dilution of national culture - that have been off-limits in the mainstream media in Germany. They aren't anymore.
His book - Germany Abolishes Itself - has sold in the region of a million copies and has shifted the whole debate on immigration in Germany. Thilo Sarrazin will be on the programme for the full hour taking your questions. We can't tell you which studio we're using in Berlin because of security reasons which tells you all you need to know about the potency of his opinions.
His book calls for various measures to tackle what he sees as a failure to integrate or contribute adequately. They include:
- Welfare payments being dependent on learning German and acquiring language skills.
- Parents who do not send their children to school for religious reasons should be fined.
- Forced marriages should be forbidden.
He also blames Muslims for many of Germany's problems. In his book he says that Muslim immigrants are a drain on German society. The quote is, "Most of the cultural and economic problems are concentrated in a group of the five to six million immigrants from Muslim countries".
He also believes that certain racial groups have certain genes which mean the groups vary in their ability to learn - and in one interview he gave Jews as an example of this.
He's since said that he regrets saying that, but hasn't retracted the general assertion that some people have genes which mean they are able to learn better and become more intelligent.
On this issue of immigration he argues that 'suppressing emotion is even more dangerous' than talking about immigration. Others argue that Germany of all places needs to be very careful wile handling these issues.
There's an enormous amount online about Thilo Sarrazin. You won't have any trouble finding it, but here are some links to sites I've used while prepping for the show.
Der Spiegel has published a detailed critique of Thilo Sarrazin's arguments.
These are some of the best known quotes from Thilo Sarrazin.
Here's a piece by Rose-Anne Clermont who be in the show. She has Haitian parents but has lived here for some time. 'Integration in Theory, Alienation in Practice' is the headline...
And last but not least Sara from the WHYS team has been uploading pictures from one of the areas in Berlin which Thilo Sarrazin uses an example of how Muslims are not integrating or contributing as they ought to.
Please post your comments and questions for Thilo Sarrazin.