Percy MacLean can call on 250 years of experience to weigh up how immigrants integrate in Germany. Since his Scottish ancestor arrived in 1753, the family has produced mayors, members of parliament and even a Nazi.
(Photo: Workers clean blood from the sidewalk outside the parliament building in Grozny October 19, 2010 following a suicide attack there that killed four people/Kazbek Basayev)
Militants waging an Islamist insurgency in Russia’s mainly Muslim North Caucasus region have proposed using either Arabic or a Turkic language as a lingua franca for their affairs. The insurgents now communicate with each other largely in Russian, also the main language of the dozen or so Islamist web sites they are affiliated with, and of their video addresses.
Hamburg may soon become the first German state officially to recognize Islam as a religious community and give its Muslims the same legal rights as Christians and Jews in dealing with the local administration.
As the archbishop walks down the church aisle a melodic hymn rises from the congregation in an ancient tongue that Jesus would have recognized. The Aramaic language of the earliest Christians lives on in the church services of a tiny village on the Turkish Cypriot side of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, where a hybrid dialect of Aramaic is commonly spoken by just 1,000 people who are striving to keep it alive.
Many of Germany’s 4 million Muslims feel forgotten and ill-inclined to vote in the Sept. 27 general election, and even politicians acknowledge they have woken up too late to their ballot box potential. In Duisburg in the industrial Ruhr region that is home to Germany’s biggest mosque, conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Frank-Walter Steinmeier stir little interest, still less political passion.