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Europe

Central banker’s controversial book sparks race storm in Germany

Text by Sébastian SEIBT

Latest update : 2010-09-30

Thilo Sarrazin, a member of Germany’s Socialist Democratic Party, has sent his colleagues into damage control mode after his racist "Abolishing Germany" hit bookshops on Monday.

Thilo Sarrazin is a respected economist, a member of Germany’s Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) and a member of the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank. He is also the author of the blatantly racist book Abolishing Germany, which has sent shockwaves across the Germany since its release on Monday.

Sarrazin does not mince words: his country’s very existence is threatened by Muslim immigration. The immediate results of his book are massive sales, a central bank and SDP scrambling (unsuccessfully) to cut ties with the man, and a seemingly inexhaustible feast for the German media.

In one chapter of the already infamous book, Sarrazin warns that unless Germany steers itself back on course “libraries will become mosques.” In Sarrazin’s view, Germany is a business, one that has failed to integrate immigrants, who in turn have become inefficient employees.

As if Islamaphobia and xenophobia were not enough, Sarrazin added a dash of anti-Semitism two days on the book’s release. “All Jews share the same gene, like the Basques, which make them different from others,” he explained in the Sunday issue of daily newspaper Die Welt.

A repeat provocateur

Despite their best efforts, the central bank has not yet found a way to get rid of Sarrazin. “Personal misconduct is not a legally justifiable reason to fire him,” the conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine reminded its readers. Sarrazin, it seems, has no intention of tendering his own resignation.

Nor does the infamous politician want to leave the SDP, even if Germany’s main opposition party wants nothing more to do with the repeat-provocateur. Sigmar Gabriel, head of the SDP, said that Sarrazin had finally “crossed the line”.

In 2009, Sarrazin, then Berlin’s finance chief, caused a storm by declaring that “Turks are good for nothing, and only produce veiled women.” The Social Democrats considered giving Sarrazin the boot last March, but little has been done as yet to this end.

Book finds an audience

After his first offence, Sarrazin was tucked away at the central bank, where, it was thought, he would be unable to attract unwanted attention.

Abolishing Germany has been published, so the plan failed.

Even worse, his Islamophobic views have found an audience among some segments of the German population. Sarrazin’s publisher has announced that the first edition of the book has already been sold out thanks to advanced orders.

Popular daily newspaper Bild states, "Thilo Sarrazin is a scandalous author. He links genes with education standards. That is scandalous. But he has spoken some stark truths about the country."

 “[Sarrazin] has raised a debate that Germany had been unwilling to face,” the left-leaning Süddeutsche Zeitung daily wrote in a more optimistic tone. “Maybe something positive will emerge from all this, if we start thinking seriously about how to help immigrants better integrate.”

 

Date created : 2010-08-31

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