An anti-immigrant wind is also blowing in Germany it seems and Chancellor Merkel has had to modify her position somewhat after e.g. angrily rejecting the claim of French President Sarkozy that she was also thinking of (as in France) a similar return to Romania of problematic, Roma traveller families from their shantytown-type settlements (a sensitive issue given the still relatively recent German past). It was only this summer that the multicultural German football team which comprehensively defeated England in the World Cup in South Africa, was celebrated in Germany as emblematic of a young country enriched by decades of immigration, the latter encouraged particularly from Turkey to meet critical labour shortages following the Second World War.
Now, however, Germany is debating the role of its 4 million Muslims and a recent opinion poll had 55% of Germans considering Muslim immigrants a burden costing the country much more socially and financially than they have contributed economically. Another poll published in Bild the largest circulation tabloid, showed 66% of the public believing that Islam does not belong in Germany. It has not helped that there are reports of German Islamic militants, the children of first generation immigrants, receiving training as terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan with several also recently reported killed by American CIA-operated drones. Mrs Merkel has now, therefore, been moved to tell her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) members at a party conference that Islam in some of its forms is not compatible with German law and that tolerance must stop at e.g. forced marriages and honour killings, which are not considered part of basic German culture. Of course Germany is not alone in being caught up in a wave of anti-immigrant feeling that is developing across Europe, with far-right and /or anti-immigrant political parties now also in e.g. Holland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and the UK.
Even on the religious front, the Catholic Church is concerned at the diaspora of some 27 million Christians (including 6 million Catholics) spread across the Middle East and which is moving to the West, reflecting the difficulties encountered in their daily lives from the rise of political Islam, as the influence of Islamic fundamentalists increases. They are also under pressure in the Philippines, India and Pakistan. Above all, such Christians are put into a rather precarious situation of being considered as non-citizens when Muslim extremists mix religion and politics and do not accept their right to freedom of religion and conscience. The Vatican trusts, however, that working together with what it sees as still a vast majority of more moderate Muslims to combat such religious extremism, the Christian faith can continue to prosper in the Holy Land at least.
Considering the rather lax attitude taken to controlling immigration to the UK in the most recent past, taken together with the promotion of Islamic Turkey for membership of the European Union (EU), the view from France is that the UK needs to reflect more on what sort of society it wants for the future and to reaffirm its common cultural heritage with Europe. Certainly the Coalition government has already set stricter limits on immigration from outside the EU and which in the current economic slowdown, can more easily inflame emotions in areas where immigrants are competing for limited low-cost housing and jobs.

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