2682) Constructing A Diaspora: German Turks And The German-Jewish Narrative

Y. Michal Bodemann and Gokce Yurdakul, University of Toronto
Draft Copy- Please Do Not Quote
This article examines how German Turks employ the German Jewish trope to establish an analogous discourse for their own diasporic position in German society. Drawing on the literature on immigrant incorporation, we argue that immigrants take more established minority groups as a model in their incorporation process. Here, we examine how German Turks formulate and enact their own incorporation into German society. They do that by using as a master narrative the socio-cultural repertoire of Germany’s principal minority, German Jewry. This is accomplished especially in relation to racism and anti-Semitism and as a political model in terms of making claims against the German state. Jews and Turks, moreover, take notice of each other’s position in German society and think in terms of triadic relations. In order to understand immigrant incorporation, it is not sufficient to look at state-immigrant relations only; we also need to look at immigrant groups’ relationships with other minority groups. . . .

Key words: Turks, Jews, Germany, ethnic narratives, interethnic relations, diaspora

From the beginnings of sociology in North America, the literature on migration, ethnicity, citizenship and multiculturalism has looked at the ways in which migrant groups integrate: how they are being inserted in particular states, their economies and their social and class structures, the ways in which their opportunity structures are being limited and how they assimilate over several generations. While the form of ethnic integration usually differs substantially from one country to the next, rarely if ever has it been asked how such a nationally specific character of ethnos is being shaped by the ethnic groups themselves—by their leaders and organizations—not merely in relation to the state and society at large, but in particular in relation to other minority or immigrant groups. Immigrant groups and minorities, often in close social proximity, do not only orient their behaviour on each other, but more recent immigrants take their predecessors’ narrative as a model; sometimes, in turn, the older immigrant group makes claims in relation to the more recent immigrants. Perhaps the best known case of one group adopting—and identifying—with the narrative of another group concerns the involvement of American Jews with the NAACP and the Civil Rights Movement in the United Statesi.

In this paper1, we will attempt to show how interethnic relations play themselves out between Turks and Jews in Germany and how the numerically largest and most recent immigrant group, the Turks, take the small Jewish minority in Germany, pivotal as to its long history in Germany as well as to its recent catastrophic past, as a model for their own future insertion in German society. The following episode is exemplary here:

Stern Cartoon
In its edition of 23 September 2004, the German magazine der stern published a cartoon showing a heavily mustached Turkish man crawling through a cat hole of a door named “European Union”, trying to gain entry into Europe. Some imitation Arabic writing in the shape of a verse appears on top of the cat hole. This racially stereotyping cartoon which the German public took little if any note of, caused an uproar in the Turkish community. Vural Öger, a prominent German-Turkish businessman and parliamentarian, wrote an open letter to der stern calling the caricature defamatory, obscene and welcome material in neo-Nazi propaganda. Öger closed his letter as follows:

A young Turkish man with a German passport, not only born but also raised here had heard about Hitler’s beginnings in history class and said that this drawing was just like the ones in (the Nazi paper) Der Stürmer. Except that the Jews would have received different noses. Here in the stern, the nose was replaced by the mustache. But everything else is the same racist garbage. (Hürriyet, 2 October 2004)

The case that we have summarised here contain the Jewish narrative and they tell us how that narrative is employed. By the ‘Jewish narrative’ we mean a repertoire of elements of the Jewish story, entailing the Jewish minority status and their history in Germany, particularly the Shoah. The backdrop, then, is Jewish, and the first message to the Muslims/Turks is to take the historic Jewish integration into German society—as it is being imagined and often, romanticised—as a model. The reaction to the anti-Turkish caricatures in der stern demonstrates that German Turks are not only knowledgeable about the German-Jewish narrative, but that they have learned to use it effectively as well. Accusing Germans of anti-Turkish racism per se is only partly effective.

Rhetorically far more effective is to associate Turkish concerns with those of the Jews; here, Turkish intellectuals find that they are being listened to—because on that point the German environment is seen as being vulnerable. This case, then, also represents the fundamental usage of the Jewish narrative by the Turkish leadership. An entirely different matter are the Orientalist parallels in the cartoon which would indeed find parallels in Nazi propaganda against Jews: The ‘Jewish vermin’ creeping into German society.

German Jews vs. German Turks

The Jews
Obtaining German citizenship, difficult for other immigrant groups, is not as complicated for many Jews. German law facilitates the acquisition of citizenship for former German citizens (and their descendants), Jews mostly, who were persecuted during the Nazi period--irrespective of which other citizenships they may hold. (Grundgesetz Article 116 par. 2). Moreover, on account of the Holocaust, special conditions have been set up to encourage Jewish immigration to Germany. These new Jewish immigrants are eligible to apply for expedited citizenship.

Between 1990 and 2004, over 250,000 Jews plus their non-Jewish dependants emigrated from the Soviet Union to Germany (Dietz et al., 2002, Jüdische Allgemeine, 23 December 2004); it is the fastest-growing Jewish population outside Israel and the third largest resettlement of Jews from the former Soviet Union, after Israel and the United States (Williams, 1999). Indeed, in 2003, more Jews emigrated to Germany than to Israelii. In contrast, less than 5000 Jews are thought to be of German origin and living in Germany todayiii.

Earlier, the argument went, Germany is the last country in which Jews would want to live (Fleischmann, 1986). Today, however, German Jews are no longer sitting on packed suitcases and especially for Russian Jews, Germany has become an attractive country to live in. National Jewish organisations are thriving and their own local Jewish congregations, community organisations and cultural centres in Berlin and elsewhere, newspapers, bookstores, synagogues, restaurants, cemeteries and museums. Their congregations have the church tax collected by the state from Jewish community members in order to finance the communities. The Zentralrat der Juden, some Rabbis and community leaders enjoy national political recognition, and the Jüdische Kulturverein in Berlin and other Jewish groups organise Jewish cultural events.

Moreover, Jews are entitled to practice shechita, the religious slaughtering of animals and have their own religious schools.

German Turks
17 years after the Jews had been exterminated in the concentration camps, Turksiv started to migrate to Germany. After the Second World War, when Germany needed a labour force to rebuild the country, the government decided to import labour from nearby countries like Turkey (Çağlar, 1994.) Turkish migrant workers were usually unskilled or semi-skilled peasants who were running away from the lack of choice, scarcity of land, unemployment and limited social services at home (Berger, 1975). Some of them managed to reunite with their families after the family reunification law of 1972, while others decided to stay permanently in Germany, leaving their families behind in Turkey (Brouwer and Prister, 1983). By 1980, there were approximately 115.000 Turkish people living in Berlin alone (Greve, 2001: 30).

Since the introduction of a new citizenship law (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz), the German state has partially discarded the idea of ius sanguinis (law based on ancestral origin), and has started naturalising the migrant population (Joppke, 2003). According to December 2002 estimates, 7.34 million migrants live in Germany, and Turks represent the largest group, at 1.998 million (Statistisches Bundesamt in TBB, 2000). According to the 2003 estimates, there were 565 766 Turks with German citizenship in Germany (Statistisches Bundesamt, and the TBB, 2003), approximately one fourth of the whole Turkish immigrant population.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a chaotic social environment and cheap labour from East Germany led to mass unemployment in Western part of Berlin (Joppke, 2003). Thus, after 1989, many Turks who came to Germany as workers in the 60s and 70s became increasingly dependent on welfare. Now, 18 per cent or more of Turks in Berlin are unemployed (Landesarbeitsamt, Statistisches Landesamt, 1997).

The problem of unemployment is exacerbated by discrimination against immigrant children in the education system. Second and third generation German citizens of Turkish background and Turkish immigrant children complain that they are not given equal opportunity in the education system (am Orde, 2002): “While only 8 per cent of German young people and adults remain without vocational training, the rate of unskilled

Turkish young people is five times higher, at about 40 per cent” (The Federal Government’s Commissioner for Foreigners’ Issues, 2000).

Racism, anti-Semitism: the 9/11 fall out As elsewhere in the Western World, the attack on the World Trade Towers cast a dark shadow on all Muslims in Germany and at the same time, paradoxically perhaps, intensified anti-Semitism: interethnic relations in general, then, became affected. On the one hand, many Muslims, Turkish Muslims included, accused Jews as being responsible for 9/11. Just after the attack, many of them adopted a widely held conspiracy theory that the Jews working in the World Trade Towers were informed beforehand about planes crashing into the towers, and therefore, they did not show up for work on that day (Lerner 2002). German Turks, just as Turks back home, however, are a diverse group; many Western-oriented Turkish Muslims have been sympathetic to Jews whereas others have sided with Arabs against the Jews on account of Israeli policies against Palestinians.

Therefore, the aftermath of 9/11 also increased solidarity between Turks and Jews in Germany, as many Turks distanced themselves from Arab immigrants.

While both Arabs and Turks are Muslim peoples, Turkey, on account of the Kemalist modernization, has always wanted to be considered as a part of the West. The policies of recent Turkish governmentsv have been cautiously pro-Israel and tendentially anti-Arab. Turks have collaborated with Israel on many occasions, including the 1999 capture of the Kurdish leader Öcalan in Kenya (Turkish Daily News 18 February 1999, Rubin 2001).

Anti-Arab sentiments in Turkey were exacerbated by the 2003 synagogue bombings in Istanbul (Hürriyet 15 November 2003). In order to protest the bombings, at the anniversary of the Mölln pogrom on November 22, a group of immigrants in Berlin organised a Migrantische Initiative gegen Antisemitismus (Migrants’ Initiative Against Anti-Semitism). Emphasising that the Jews were not alone in their struggle against anti-Semitism, the Migrants’ Initiative organised a demonstration to show their solidarity with Jews in Germany (Migrantische Initiative gegen Antisemitismus 2003.) The spokesperson of the TBB, Safter Çınar, sent a note to Jüdisches Berlin, (the monthly bulletin of the Jewish Community in Berlin), saying that Turks were in solidarity with the members of Berlin’s Jewish community (2003).

The next issue of the Jüdisches Berlin published interviews and articles of Turks and Turkish Jews, as well as photographs from a joint Chanukah party that was organised by the Jüdische Kulturverein (Jüdischer Kulturverein, 2004). The articles and interviews refer to the days of the Ottoman Empire and its millet system in which the Turkish/Muslim majority coexisted with Jews and other ethnic and religious minorities (Tulgan 2004). It further emphasised that Jews who fled Germany after 1933, and after 1492 from the Spanish Inquisition, found shelter as refugees in the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, respectively (Shaw 1991). Thus, the Jüdisches Berlin condemned the synagogue bombings in Istanbul and provided public space for Turks to show their solidarity with Jews (Yilmaz 2004).

The Jewish master narrative: the common ground against racism and anti-Semitism The 9/11 fall out, then, posed a twofold challenge to the Turkish leadership in Germany: they had to attempt not to be painted with the anti-Arab/anti-Muslim brush and at the same time, they had to combat anti-Semitism in their own ranks which among both Turkish immigrants and the radical right had assumed a new intensity. Among the Right, the increased anti-Semitism came along with increased racism against Muslims. Neo-Nazi graffiti such as “What the Jews have behind them is what is still to come for the Turks” (Kastoryano 2002:132) virtually forces Turkish-German leaders into an alliance with Jews, according to the theorem, “the enemies of my enemies are my friends”. Accordingly, a photo, taken during a street protest in Berlin, and displayed at the Jewish Museum in Berlin during a short-term exhibit on Jewish history in Germany, responds to this slogan: a group of Turkish immigrants carry a banner, which reads, “We don’t want to be the Jews of tomorrow.”vi In other words, the neo-Nazis use the Jewish narrative negatively and the immigrants respond by employing the cultural repertoirevii of German-Jewish relations positively, for their own objectives.

The TBB, as the Turkish secular and social-democratically oriented immigrant association, employs the Jewish narrative to show that racism in Germany today is an extension of anti-Semitic history. The parallel between Jewish and Turkish associations is marked in the organisational aspirations of the TBB which aims to attract young German Turks to their organisation. They want to challenge their organisational concept and rid themselves of the image of an ethnic organisation, thereby also trying to find common ground with Jewish organisations. This common ground is the relationship between anti-Semitism and racism and being a minority in Germany. The spokesperson of the TBB, Safter Çınar, comments:

Many young German Turks would like to be involved in German society, German political parties and institutions. We will lose these young people if we fall into the trap of organising only as an ethnic association. This is because we think of ourselves as ethnic immigrants. But our situation would change if we would organise around a social problem. There is a social problem [i.e.,racism] and we organise around it. (Interview with Safter Çınar, Spokesperson of the TBB, 03 November 2002).

Including the younger, German-born Turks in the Turkish immigrant associations is important because as Safter Çınar argues, it would help transform a current ethnic association into an (NGO) that fights social problems such as racism. It would do away with the idea of a separatist Turkish community and strive towards an assimilated Turkish community involved in, and concerned with, Germany’s problem of racism. Just as German Jews are united against anti-Semitism, German Turks would be united against racism towards Turks.

In various anti-Semitic incidents, the TBB has shown solidarity with the Jewish Community in Berlin. One example of the collaboration between these two associations occurred during the 2002 federal elections, when the Free Democratic Party (FDP) party politician, Jamal Karsli, compared Israel's tactics in the West Bank to “Nazi methods.” The vice-president of the party, Jürgen Möllemann, went on to offend a leader of the Zentralrat der Juden, Michel Friedman, by stating that Friedman’s behavior inspires anti-Semitism. With these anti-Israel and anti-Semitic political tactics, Karsli and Möllemann hoped that their party would gain right-wing German and Muslim votes in Germany (The New York Times, 7 June 2002). But in response, the TBB joined members of the Jewish community in front of the FDP’s party centre to protest the anti-Semitic election campaign (Cziesche and Schmidt 2002). In the European edition of a major Turkish newspaper, Möllemann’s anti-Semitic campaign aimed at attracting Muslim votes was severely condemned. (Hürriyet European Edition 10 June 2002).

In return for its showing solidarity, the TBB received a positive response from the Jewish Community in Berlin. The aforementioned Mölln commemoration is an example of some Jewish support given -a few Jewish representatives attended their event and brought greetings. Moreover, when the TBB established the Antidiskriminierungsnetzwerk (network against discrimination) to influence the preparation process of the new anti-discrimination law and then organised a seminar to inform the public about this law, some members of the Jewish community were present. In this and other similar projects, the TBB has co-operated with the Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin against discrimination and racism (Hürriyet European Edition 17 July 2001). With the Jewish model from immigrant to diaspora While the TBB, as we have seen, attempts to form an alliance with the Jewish community and employs the Jewish narrative in its substance, the Cemaat, one of its religious counterparts, employs Jewishness as a form: it focuses on, and emulates, the Jewish institutional structure in order to receive recognition for Muslim religious rights in Germanyviii. Accordingly, for the first time, (Turkish) Muslims see themselves as a diaspora and are looking for models of diasporic life. The vice-chair of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany for example recently observed that Muslims are lacking a theology of integration. The old scriptures rarely if ever gave directions how to behave in non-Muslim societiesix.

Jewish institutional structures are used as models for religious Turkish associations in order to achieve the type of community solidarity and collective unity they believe to be present in the Jewish associations. Although Jewish organisations have different interests and are often in conflict, these conflicts are not readily apparent to the mass media or to outsiders. Unaware of possible contention within Jewish associations, the executive committee member of the Cemaat, Ahmet Yilmaz, not necessarily a friend of Jews, glorifies their strong fellowship:

I wish from Allah that no other nation would live the difficulties that the Jewish nation had experienced, but [I wish from Allah that he would] provide their solidarity to everyone. There is a Jewish community that speaks for all Jews. My heart wishes that all Turkish organizations will come together under the same roof, and keep equal distance to all [German political] parties. (Interview with Ahmet Yılmaz, Executive Committee Member of the Türkische Gemeinde zu Berlin, 8 May 2003.)

Although Yilmaz’s yearnings have not been realised, his organisation, the Cemaat, has modeled its organisational structure on the Jewish Community in Berlin, in both its hierarchy and its religious orientation. The original name of the Cemaat, Türkische Gemeinde zu Berlin, is also inspired by the Jewish Community’s official name, Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlinx.

Some leaders of the Cemaat openly state that they demand religious rights similar to those of Jews. They argue that the German state authorities should recognise the religious and national differences of Sunnite Turkish immigrantsxi. The Cemaat and other religious Turkish associations demand permission for ritual slaughtering of animals, permission for the Islamic call to prayer in public, provisions for burial according to the Islamic rite.”xii One important difference between the Jewish and Muslim associations is the fiscal status. While churches and synagogues as Körperschaften in public law receive Kirchensteuer, i.e., taxes collected by the state on their behalf, the mosques do not have this privilege. This issue causes much major resentment among Muslims in Germany (Laurence 2001), in particular as their number far exceeds the number of Jews; they are, however, not unified to establish political lobbies and to demand status as KdöR (Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts).

The most striking examples in religious claims making and using the Jewish narrative involve issues such as the disputes over religious education of Turkish Muslim children, wearing of the headscarf in public places, and the struggle over the right to eat religiously processed meat (halal). The religious education of Turkish immigrant children in Germany has been a much-debated problem for years. While Quran reciting coursesxiii for children are legally allowed as a community service in many Sunnite mosques, the Cemaat is also lobbying to have Islam classes in German schoolsxiv. Jews, however, are allowed to have their own religious education and high schools in Germany.

Along with the problematic practice of teaching Islam courses in secondary schools, a controversial public debate erupted whether Muslim women teachers could attend classes wearing the traditional headscarves (known as başörtü or türban in Turkish) in public services and schoolsxv. In a decision in the constitutional court of Germany in 2003, it is left up to the individual Länder (federal states) to legally enact a ban on wearing the headscarf in schools. Most German Länder were in favor of the ban, particularly the states that are governed by the conservative CDU/CSU party such as Baden-Württemberg (Deutsche Welle 25 September 2003).

Turkish immigrant organisations are divided on these two issues. On one hand, during a public controversy about wearing the headscarf in schools in late 2003, the religious immigrant organisations, such as the Cemaat, played the multiculturalism card and argued that immigrants’ religious and cultural differences should be regarded as political rights, and therefore Muslim women should not be prevented from practising their religion in the public sphere. Indeed, until recently, it would have been unthinkable to ask a Jewish man, for example, to remove his kippa in Germany. This double standard, tolerating Jewish practices while opposing Turkish ones, is another reason why Turks have first associated themselves with Jews, and asked for equal recognition in public. The secular immigrant organisations, such as the TBB, on the other hand, identifying with the Jacobin tenets of the Turkish constitution, supported the ban on all religious symbols in public.

Granting halal, ritual slaughtering of animals, has been an important cultural struggle for Turkish immigrants in Germany. Halal slaughtering requires that the animal’s throat should be cut with a sharp knife and the blood be drained from the vessels. This contradicts the German regulation that animals should be stunned by electric shock before slaughtering. Although Jews are allowed to practice similar slaughtering, known as shechita, the situation for Turks becomes controversial, especially before the Ramadan Feast that requires a mass sacrifice and ritual slaughtering of certain animals, such as sheep and cattle.

Recently, a Turkish butcher, Rüstem Altinküpe, struggled to provide halal meat to his clients during Ramadan (Evrensel Daily Newspaper in Turkish, European Edition 16 January 2002.) He was supported by various Turkish and Muslim associations and organisations, who claimed it was their right to practice their religion in Germany. After days of public campaigning in the media and bureaucratic struggles with German authorities, the butcher, through the Muslim community gained the right to slaughter animals according to halal, however under very strict conditionsxvi.

Obviously, this is not simply about slaughtering animals and eating meat; it is about practising the laws of one’s religion, as do the churches and the Jews. While Jews and Muslims are often in opposition to each other, Turkish Muslims point to the parallel with German Jews to claim their religious rights from the German state. Mustafa Y., the head of the law office of Milli Görüş, finds it natural to work with the German Jewish community on this and similar subjectsxvii. He participated in a court case to defend the Muslims’ rights to slaughter animals according to Islamic ritual in Nordrhein-Westfalen:

I have talked to them [court authorities] for hours. I gave them all rational arguments. They are arguing harshly against us. [They say] you have to integrate into this society. So for them, my arguments are invalid. Then the rabbi, sitting next to me, started to talk. He said ‘you [Germans] have no right to speak. You have massacred my ancestors.’ Then the Germans were quiet. They couldn’t say anything. He put them down so much, if I were in their shoes, I would not be able to stand all these insults, and I would leave. But this is his [the rabbi’s] capital xviii .They [Germans] killed six million people, they cannot dare to leave[while the rabbi is speaking]. It would be a scandal in the newspapers. [The Germans] listened to [the rabbi] until the end. When we left the court, I told him ‘thank you very much. This is how you do business. We don’t know how to do it.’ He said ‘I know that these Germans have grudges against me. This is almost in their genes. The best thing that you can do is to stand close to us [Jews]. We can struggle [against Germans] together. Because our word is valid here, your word is not. (Interview with Mustafa Y., of the law office in Milli Görüs, Cologne, 27 July 2004).

Turkish fragmentation and the myth of Jewish unity It has been argued that if “Turks had more unified central organisations lobbying local governments, they might benefit to the same extent as Jews from funding for religious and cultural activity” (Laurence 1999: 6). In the German corporately-oriented democracy, German state authorities would welcome a strong representation by Turkish immigrant organisations that could represent their common interest--and discipline the Turkish community; but Turkish immigrant organisations are far from unified. The controversy around the headscarf is one example: The TBB campaigns strongly against the use of the head scarf in public; the Cemaat on the other hand supports it--not by holding public campaigns but by providing social services for women with headscarves or assisting them with employment. As a result of this Turkish fragmentation, German state authorities play down the role of immigrant organisations as their interlocutors. Some political leaders of the Turkish immigrant communities, such as the foreigner’s commissioner of Tempelhof-Schöneberg borough in Berlin, Emine Demirbüken, resent the political disunity among Turkish immigrant associations. She draws parallels between the Jewish community and the young Turks and stresses that it is essential to demonstrate the economic and intellectual potential of Turks to German society:

The Jewish community combines its members’ economic power with their brain power. Turks also have economic power here. We have many people who are bilingual, who can speak perfect German and Turkish. Why can’t we combine our economic power with our brain power? Why don’t we show our power to the Germans? Why can’t we force them to take us seriously? If we don’t do this, then they will always stereotype us as members of a society who do not want to learn German, whose women are battered by their husbands, and whose daughters are locked up at home (Emine Demirbüken, Foreigner’s commissioner of Tempelhof-Schöneberg Municipality in Berlin, 04 March 2003).

Demirbüken argues that a consolidation of its organisational structures would lead to a change in the Turkish guest-worker stereotype. Despite their economic achievements, many Turks in Germany still pursue traditional practices such as violence against women and conservative child rearing habits. Moreover, many Turkish immigrants, forcibly and voluntarily, are isolated from German society and do not speak German, a problem Germans today decry as the Parallelgesellschaft. However, young Turks are better educated, have better language abilities and social skills than their immigrant parents, and according to Demirbüken, Germans will take the Turkish community more seriously when they have to deal with young German Turks as their counterparts in the immigrant associations. Just as in the Jewish associations, she looks for economically and socially capable people to be in the Turkish frontline.

We have argued here that immigrant groups through their leadership take previously established minorities as master narratives and as political models in order to define their relations with the receiving state. Those narratives are the ideological labour provided by minorities for the state and its society. We tried to show that the relationship between immigrant communities is important for understanding the process of immigrant integration in the receiving country: Immigrant associations refer to the older minorities as models in order to prepare their own struggle against discrimination and then make political claims.

As we have seen, Turkish immigrants in Germany use the special position of German Jews in order to establish their own associational ties, map out discourses and strategies against racism, including anti-Semitism, and to make claims against German authorities. We have found that the secular Turkish organisations model their discourse on the German Jewish narrative, whereas the religious organisations attempt to emulate Jewish institutional structures in Germany.

There is no doubt that the Jewish case in Germany is an historically determined and specific case. Therefore, in order to understand the immigrant incorporation process, it is not sufficient to analyse majority-minority relations. We also need to look at how immigrants perceive themselves in relation to other minority groups, and how they draw upon historical patterns in the receiving country, patterns developed by and with established minorities. Our analysis of some Turkish and Jewish literary writing supports these findings: Turks and Jews see themselves in a triadic relation together with Germans, and Turks as the newcomers tend to look up and emulate German Jewry in its relation to German society.

In the long term, it will be interesting to see whether the German Turkish leadership’s attempt to adopt a narrative emulating that of the Jews will be an effective strategy in developing their relationship with the German state. Furthermore, there is at least the strong possibility that by emulating the Jews, the numerically strongest group in Germany will develop an alliance with the historically and symbolically most important minority in Germany. Given the incomparably greater numbers, increasing economic and political clout of Turks, this alliance will be of interest to the Jewish community as well. An alliance, to be sure, that will have to be conflictual at times and full of obstacles. Greater unity among Turks and their organisations, the rise of the extreme Right, of concern to both Jews and Turks and the rise of racism and anti-Semitism as we experience it today, may well expedite that type of coalition of the minorities.

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The Jewish involvement with the Civil Rights Movement took a different form, however, and was largely “altruistically” oriented, seen as assistance to the Black community. Nevertheless, working for civil rights at the time was important to the Jewish social position as well, in light of persistent discriminatory practices against Jews even in the 1960’s. See Ezra Mendelsohn (1993: 133ff).

ii Of the 200,000 Russian Jewish immigrants, only 80,000, however, have become members of Jewish communities. Many who have come to Germany were not Jewish by Jewish law (halacha), on account of their patrilineal Jewish descent, or because they were non-Jewish spouses of Jews. On the problematic nature of “counting Jews,” cf. Goldscheider (2004).

iii The estimates vary according to Jewish organisations and scholars. See to this also Bodemann (2002: 185ff)

iv Immigration from Turkey to Germany includes not only Turks, but Kurds and other ethnic and religious minorities, such as Alevites and Yezidis.

v It is important to note that the Turkish governments’ pro-Israeli attitude does not necessarily reflect the beliefs and values of Turkish people towards Israelis and Jews. Many Turks are neither supportive of Israeli policies nor sympathetic to Jews. vi The banner by Turkish immigrants at a demonstration against racism in Germany is reproduced in Gerdien Jonker (2002). The fact that it is presented in a Jewish museum is indicative of the affinity of both groups, on account of some semblance of shared experiences.

vii On the idea of the cultural repertoire, following Charles Tilly, see Swidler (2002).

viii It is obvious that the binary religious/non-religious organisational structure of Turks in Germany reflects the situation back home, between a strictly secular state and a large religious population.

ix Mohammed Aman H. Hobohm, cited in Die Welt 16 November 2004

x The preposition “zu” is somewhat antiquated and rarefied, and it is therefore remarkable that the Cemaat would adopt this form.

xi This part of the discussion deliberately excludes other religious groups than Sunnite Muslims who migrated from Turkey to Germany, such as Alevites, Yezidis and Assyrians.

xii See Islamische Charta by Zentralrat der Muslime in Deutschland (2002) for a full list of Muslm demands.

xiii Reading and memorising Quran verses in Arabic.

xiv One such association is the Islamische Föderation Berlin (IFB) which has the privilege of teaching Islam courses in German secondary education, in German. Currently, over 1600 students, about half each boys and girls, are taking Islam as a religion course. Seventy-four percent are of Turkish nationality, and 21 per cent are of Arab descent. (IFB 2004)

xv At issue was the following: A German schoolteacher of Afghan origin, Feresteh Ludin, insisted on wearing the hijab in the school. She was let go of her teaching job and subsequently complained that she was being discriminated against on the grounds of her religious beliefs. When her case was brought before Bundesverfassungsgericht (the constitutional court of Germany,) it ruled that “Germany’s constitutional law did not explicitly forbid the wearing of headscarves in the classroom in state-run schools” (Deutsche Welle, 25 September 2003.) The court then left it up to the individual Länder to legally enact a ban on wearing the headscarf in schools. Some of the Länder have now outlawed the headscarf.

xvi Recently, Altinküpe’s shop was firembombed; the perpetrators are unknown. (IGMG, 26 November 2004)

xvii Although Y. states that it is natural to work with the Jewish community in Germany, later in his talk he also admits that it is not possible for Milli Görüs to work with German Jewish associations, because of their support of Israeli actions in Palestine, which is unacceptable for this Muslim community.

The original in Turkish is “Ama bunun sermayesi o.”


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