On December 1, GMF hosted "The Experience of Muslims in Europe and the U.S.: How have Germany and the U.S. Fared in Integrating Minority Religious Groups?," a discussion on Muslim integration within Germany and the United States. The lunch event featured Naika Foroutan, political scientist and associate professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Humboldt University, Riem Spielhaus, research fellow at the Centre for European Islamic Thought, and Kareem Shora, senior policy advisor and section lead of the Community Engagement Section with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). GMF’s Zsolt Nyiri moderated the discussion.
The event was held under the Chatham House rule and focused on how Muslims appear to have been integrated in both Germany and the United States. During the discussion questions were raised regarding how the population is perceived within both countries respectively. Several quotes by Thilo Sarrazin, politician and author of the highly criticized bookDeutschland schafft sich ab, were challenged demonstrating a distinct gap between the facts of successful integration and the perceptions of the German public. Other points raised during the discussion provided further insight on survey research by European institutions on Muslim integration and integration efforts from a U.S. government perspective. The dialogue also touched on an apparent desecuritization of DHS initiatives in 2006, which evolved into outreach strategies that focused more on taking a holistic approach toward engaging the U.S. Muslim community.