“You should learn Arabic in order to speak to migrants” blasts outspoken German politician

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Mr Beck said people should not fear neighbourhoods where the vast majority of inhabitants do not speak the native language.

The 55-year-old, the Green Party’s spokesman on migration issues, has been blasted by other German politicians for “undermining integration”.

Mr Beck told German broadcaster n-tv: “Other countries are more relaxed about the fact that in some areas a community with a migration background speaks another language.

“It creates a discomfort, because people have the feeling that they don’t understand everything. 

“But if it’s really important to people, they should learn the language, then they would understand what’s going on.”

He was criticised by centre-right politicians who said his comments did little to quell tension in the country following the influx of more than a million migrants in response to Angela Merkel’s open door policy.

Christina Schwarzer, a Christian Democrat MP in Neukölln, an area of Berlin that’s home to a large number of migrants, told Bild: “Then we can give up on any effort to integrate [migrants].

“Learning German is the cornerstone of integration.” 

Unnamed sources within the Green Party have also disagreed with Mr Beck, who was once the Green Party’s chief whip.

One said: “The duty of politicians should rather be to think about ways to teach German quickly to newcomers.”

But Mr Beck has taken to Facebook to defend his remarks, claiming his comments have been twisted.

He blasted: “This is nonsense. People who want to live in Germany have to learn, understand and speak German.

“In Germany nobody needs to learn another language to understand migrants and refugees, but they have to learn German.

“In the police and social workers we need more intercultural competence with sufficient staff and integration skills.

“It is important we make the offer of integration courses.

“Germany is a free country and you can speak in any language or dialect, such as German, Bavarian, Slovenian, English, French, Arabic, Italian and Hebrew, in private, in the pub, the tea room or on the street.

“But the official language is and always will be German.”

He added: “In my interview I also asked that mosque municipalities order imams who grew ups in Germany to speak German, even if we do not enforce it by law.”

Germany was initially expected to take around 400,000 refugees in 2014, but this figure has risen to more than one million, with one in five people living in Germany now having roots outside the country.