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19 Oct, 2010 18:52

Germany rethinks multiculturalism

All immigrants in Germany should actively integrate into society, German president Christian Wulff said in an address to the Turkish parliament.

He has arrived in Turkey on an official visit – the first of the German leader in over ten years. His statement in Ankara reiterates Chancellor Angela Merkel's comments last week that multiculturalism had “totally failed”. And as it grapples with integrating its 3.5 million mostly Turkish Muslims, German identity is in the spotlight.

Keith Best, a former British MP and Chief executive of the Foundation for Care for Victims of Torture, says the rhetoric of the German leadership can be explained by the desire to gain political points.

“German politicians are very populist. It’s a very disingenuous and disgraceful thing to do – to play on that kind of populism. But people do tend to want to blame somebody for fears they feel themselves. And very often it is foreigners,” Keith Best told RT.

“This is a great chain, we see this throughout Europe. In fact the reality is, of course, quite the opposite. It’s usually the foreigners who’ve come in, helped to bring in new culture, to change the culture – sometimes in a very beneficial way,” he added.