With his controversial book dominating the German integration debate, former German central banker Thilo Sarrazin is spreading his message to the English-speaking world: immigrants must integrate, or leave the country. Last week, Sarrazin defended his views on restrictive immigration on the BBC’s call-in radio talk show Have Your Say. Sarrazin’s book, Deutschland schafft sich ab (translated as “Germany is Doing Itself Away”), claims, among other things, that immigrant Muslims are reluctant to integrate into German culture and tend to rely heavily on social services.
Though the majority of callers lambasted Sarrazin for his views, the integration zealot is no stranger to controversy. Last September, he was removed from the executive board of the Deutsche Bundesbank after criticizing Islam and describing Arab and Turkish immigrants as unwilling to integrate. Sarrazin ended the BBC show with characteristically blunt advice for a caller named Kübra, the daughter of Turkish guest workers in Germany who experiences discrimination regularly for wearing a hijab. His answer? It’s her problem: “It is your own choice to wear a head scarf and to live in Germany. You could as well live in the U.S. or Turkey.”