One group of people that has been especially in the spotlight are the Muslims. Just a few weeks ago, when Germany played Turkey in a European Cup qualifying game, the debate reached soccer fans, because both teams had players of German-Turkish origin in their lines.
Many Germans with Turkish roots also have a Turkish passport and thus can decide what country they want to play for. When Mesut Özil – who is at the verge of becoming a world-class player for Real Madrid – decided that he wanted to play for Germany instead of Turkey, many Turkish soccer fans were in total disbelief. Fortunately, he was mainly treated with a lot of respect for what he has achieved in such an early point of his career, and even Turks are proud of “their Mesut.”
Since then, Mesut Özil has become one of the prime examples for integration. He is portrayed as the friendly young man from a working class background who has truly embraced his German nationality. (And most importantly plays well for the German national team, one might think.)
For 22-year-old Muslima Kübra Yücel, this couldn’t be further from the truth. On her blog Ein Fremdwörterbuch, which was intended to be a blog about her life but now focuses on questions concerning her religious background, she claims that the current debate about integration is a farce.
Ich will nicht wissen, wann und unter welchen Umständen ich als Mensch mit nichtdeutscher Abstammung und nichtchristlicher Religion ein Du-bist-deutsch-Siegel bekommen könnte. Das sind Scheindebatten. Die Realität sieht so aus: Mesut Özil kann – wie übrigens viele seiner biodeutschen Kollegen auch – keinen grammatikalisch korrekten deutschen Satz hervorbringen, ich hingegen schon. Trotzdem gilt er als integriert und deutsch, ich aber nicht.[…] Großartig. Ich habe also einen deutschen Pass, engagiere mich hier, spreche die Sprache und gehe wählen. Aber das reicht anscheinend nicht. Leider kann ich kein Fußball.
[I don’t want to know when and under which circumstances I – a person of non-German origin and non-Christian religion – could get the you-are-German-predicate. These are make-believe debates. Reality is different. Mesut Özil cannot utter a grammatically correct sentence like many of his biologically German peers, whereas I can. Nonetheless, he is considered to be integrated and German and I am not. […] Great. I have a German passport, I am involved socially, speak the language and I vote. But that doesn’t seem to be enough. Unfortunately, I don’t play soccer.]
This incident shows that the current debates about integration are merely touching the surface of the problem. (If you browse through her blog or the blog Just another Hidjabi by her friend Yasmina Abd el Khader, you will find many more.)For Kübra, the debate about integration is ridiculous due to the results and misjudgements about what it means to be integrated when it comes to celebrities (or someone with celebrity status).
She sees nationality as an empty term. She doesn’t say she is German, nor that she is Turkish. On the contrary, she feels that these terms only limit her in what she is and as what she is seen as. She wants to be seen for what she really is: her qualities, ideas, and her character. Maybe Kübra is right and thinking in terms of nationality is outdated. Europe is coming closer together and the EU has been an important step in this development. Furthermore, the western world shares both ideologies and values, and people travel freely between countries. The next logical step would be to include the remaining parts of the world, including the Islamic world. Both blogs give insight into the views of two young Muslimas and utter a call for an open-minded approach to people of foreign cultures in general. As Yasmina puts it: “Wir wollen keine Schubladen mehr.” (We don’t want to be pigeonholed any longer.)