Dispelling the Myth of ‘Parallel Societies’: Are Berlin’s Muslims a Model for Integration?

This article discusses the new report by the Open Society Institute, “Muslims in Berlin,” a study that focuses on Berlin’s Kreuzberg district and tells of a fairly positive story of integration. Far from being a parallel society, and contrary to many assumptions, Muslims in Kreuzberg make daily or weekly contact with their non-Muslim neighbors and typically share the same concerns over education and employment. The study also concludes that despite being well-integrated, many Muslim citizens face ethnic and religious discrimination at school and work and as well as institutions helping to combat discrimination and possible solutions.

The article is an excellent read and the overall report sounds like an interesting read about integration, for the report interviewed Muslims and non-Muslims alike from various ethnic backgrounds all living in the same district. This equal approach takes the view that integration is not a one-sided problem for either people, but rather an issue for all. Unfortunately, the report seems to have focused on the best case example of integration in all of Germany and would benefit with comparable studies in other parts of Berlin and Germany to ascertain if this is unique to the economically well-off district of Kreuzberg.

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