For hundreds of years....Germans didn't have to deal with Muslims. It's not until you get to the 1950s....with industrial expansion and the need for more workers....that Germany got into the guest worker program and Turks came to Germany.
Most Germans will say that the Turks out of the 1950s and 1960s....were a totally different group than they see today. Generally, a guest worker came in....worked for a period of time.....sometimes two or three years, and then returned to Turkey with a fair sum of money saved. Some Turks came to like Germany and brought their family here.
When I was here in the 1970s and 1980s....Turks were insulated in society. They had their own community....their own pubs and restaurants....and generally were hard-working guys who had some appreciation of a stable economy, decent infrastructure, and a very limited corruption situation with city and state authorities.
The Islam thing? Well....to be honest....all the way up until the early 1990s....I can't say that it really was obvious in Germany. If Turks or any other Islamic society did their religious business....it tended to be on a small scale and not that noticeable.
This past week....a sign of the changing times popped up with the Islamic folks in Germany. A eighteen year old female in a school program in Bavaria.....came up and noted that she didn't feel right with her face exposed in Bavarian society. So, she wanted to wear a veil to cover her face and just have her eyes exposed.
Bavarians aren't exactly pro-Islam and this request didn't go well. A lawyer took up the episode. The court stood up last week and finally said "NO". It's an interesting argument that the court uses. Basically, the German state court said that a teacher needs to observe your face, your emotions, and your reaction.....as they teach.....in order to get the right message across.
I sat there reading this and kinda wondered if this argument would ever work in the US. American teens are pretty good actors, and you might get sixty different reactions or emotions.....none of which might be acceptable or interpreted by a teacher.
The veil thing? Well, I walk Wiesbaden on a weekly basis, and in eight months.....I've seen one single case of a fully veiled Islamic gal on the streets. You see the hair covering and the long silky gown outfit on a regular basis.....maybe forty times a day in the shopping district. But veils? No. At the Frankfurt airport? I probably see it a dozen times as I transit there.
Eventually, some German court will pause, reflect, and allow it. A week or two later.....five German punk kids will be wearing silky gowns out on the street with full-up veils. Cops will stop them....the guys and gals will claim discrimination and suddenly this will get out and become some short-term fashion trend. Batman masks, Green Lantern masks, Green Hornet masks, veils, etc. The German authorities? I don't think they'd really appreciate the matter, or where this would lead onto.
It's hard to say if this was a personal choice thing or some mentor put the young gal up to the idea. I'm guessing that she will be disturbed by the court ruling.....pout a day or two.....then either get on with this ruling, or pack up and leave for Turkey or some friendly Islamic country.
I look back at the Turkish society in Germany from thirty years ago. It makes me ask how thing got into an Islamic throw-back situation, and who pushes this agenda. If it wasn't a big deal in the 1970s.....why now? History always tells you some impact, some lesson learned, some trail to how we changed.....so what's the history for this change? I'm kinda pondering this.