German Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maiziere presented a 15-point thesis Tuesday for what German culture is about.
The debate over “Leitkultur,” or dominant culture, has taken center stage in Germany ahead of the upcoming election in September. De Maiziere, a member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, presented his plan in an op-ed with the headline “We are not Burka” published April in Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
“In language, constitution and observance of basic rights, there is something that at heart holds us together, that makes us up and that differentiates us from others,” De Maiziere wrote.
The minister defended the plan Tuesday during the launch of a 15-point thesis for successful “cultural integration.”
“We can not ask anyone to respect our way of life unless we formulate it,” de Maiziere said, according to Die Welt.
A YouGov poll released Tuesday shows half the German population are positive to the idea of a defined dominant culture. Just one-quarter opposes the suggestion.
CDU originally introduced “Leitkultur” in 2000 to push immigrants — at the time primarily from former Yugoslavia — to accept Germany’s customs and laws. The word was recently revived by populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which seeks to revive national pride focused on Germany’s Christian heritage.
De Maiziere said the end goal is to establish a “mission statement” for good coexistence between locals and immigrants.
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