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18 Oct, 2010 17:43

Merkel’s comments on immigrants could stoke xenophobia among Germans – activist

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent comments on immigrants’ failure to integrate could prompt xenophobic attacks from Germany’s right-wing nationalist groups, says Anetta Kahane from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.

Kahane says Merkel is facing a delicate balancing act of heading a globalized country and remaining a representative of the Conservative Party in a country where xenophobic sentiments have steadily been on the rise.

Both the immigrants and the government are to blame for the rising tension, Kahane says.

I don’t deny that there are problems with integration, especially among the ‘underdog’ social groups. But it’s not good to make an ‘eth-class’ problem out of it,” Kahane said, referring to the segregation of immigrant groups.

There is a problem with some of these immigrant groups, especially [in relation] to teenagers… But the education system, for instance, has to be improved, on the one hand. And on the other hand, the immigrants have to make an effort to learn German and to be successful.”