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Readers join the great integration debate

Readers react to Chancellor Angela Merkel's declaration that multiculturism has "utterly failed" in Germany. Some agree, saying immigrants aren't integrating. Others say the state can't fail what it never tried.

Women in headscarves wait at a bus stop

The public debate on integration continues to grow

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Chancellor Merkel says German multiculturalism has 'utterly failed'

In my opinion Germany has never been trying to be multicultural. My family immigrated to Germany 15 years ago, my parents speak German fluently but their Diplomas were never accepted - and this didn't happen only to my family but to many other people as well. Germany is fooling itself. -- Jana, Russia

Germany should abandon integration because a lot of Germans are hostile towards foreigners. In countries like Australia people get automatically integrated as the people here are very friendly and tolerant. I've been living in Australia for two years and have always felt at home, something that never happens in Europe. -- Fari, Australia

I married a German, I stayed in Germany and my son went to a German school. I work for a German firm, I love living in Germany. I live by the German law and respect the German culture. Simple. -- Malcolm, Germany

I totally agree with Chancellor Merkel that immigrants in Germany must learn the language of the country, before being considered for employment. They must also obey the laws of their adopted country. In selection of immigrants, only highly skilled people should be considered, but German nationals, regardless of age, should always be given priority in the job market. -- Heinz, Canada

It seems to me that it would be more productive to encourage the indigenous German population to reproduce. Tax breaks, encouragement, supportive working conditions could be used toward this end. If pay is structured so that women must work for families to pay the bills, then what can you expect but smaller families? Otherwise, if immigration is the solution, then Germany will someday no longer be populated by Germans. -- Sam, US

Chancellor Merkel, thank you for being honest and not afraid to say the politically incorrect thing. Multiculturalism is nonsense. Germany needs to retain its own identity and immigrants have to demonstrate they like the country that they choose to immigrate to. I have complained about multiculturalism in Canada for many years and now I see the chancellor's comments have also awakened other critics in Canada. Perhaps she and her colleague have finally called the hypocrites' bluff. -- Gerhard, Canada

Multiculturalism without attempting to assimilate into a society causes the failure. The person immigrating to Germany does so voluntarily. When they do so they should expect to leave behind their former cultural ways, language, and laws and be prepared to accept the culture, language, and laws of their new country of residence. I have visited Germany on multiple locations and have seen the "society within a society" that has built up in cities such as Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, among other locations. In each of these cities, I have noted very little in the way of trying to "become German." It is sad, but true. Chancellor Merkel's comments are far truer than what anyone wished. -- Michael, US

I am a Cuban-born American citizen who has only gone to Europe twice. On both occasions I visited Germany for a few days. I have to say that I never felt welcome in Germany during those visits. I found Germans to be rather uncomfortable when it comes to dealing with people who do not look northern European; especially in small towns away from big cities. Those Turkish immigrants would have to be very desperate to have decided to leave their own countries to settle down to be second class citizens in a society as cold and xenophobic as German society is. -- Luis, Cuba

Merkel's statement that multiculturalism hat utterly failed in Germany is only partly true. As Germany is ushered into multiculturalism, with the start of bringing in foreign or guest workers, it is now a full-fledged multi-ethnic state just like many other countries. It is a good thing to asses the failures and achievements of successive German governments' policies, especially within the bounds of integration. It is also equally important to look at the part of foreigners and why there are shortcomings to be fully integrated into the society. It is wrong to indulge in the blame game, so that Merkel's party picks up some more votes in the coming election or looks better in poll statistics. The point here is to build up incentive and opportunity, plus sincere government willingness to create workable integration schemes with broadmindedness, minus populist tendencies with short term goals for one party's advantage. -- Sai, Germany

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Nancy Isenson