New Models of Participation and Expertise in the United States and Europe
Edited by Thierry Delpeuch and Jacqueline E. Ross
Chapter 10: Cultural profiling? Police prevention and minorities in Berlin
In society today we should learn to deal with heterogeneity, with cultures and religions that are different. This requires both greater tolerance and recognizing the law and of the values of our Constitution on the part of every person living here . . . in order for integration to succeed. We will achieve it, when it takes place, with the classic means of the police and of justice. But the points of departure for dialogue are working within a network and winning trust, which is what prevention means. A long-term dialogue, nourished by reciprocal communication and knowledge about other cultures and religions, requires the capacity to recognize and take into consideration our differences in order to overcome the remoteness of the other . . . All this is particularly necessary in a time when our country, rather than having a pragmatic debate about the possibilities of integration, has conducted a debate about culture that is Islamophobic and bellicose, a debate fed by exaggeration, simplification, and stupidity about migrants and Muslims. (Dieter Glietsch, Berlin Prefect of Police, Federal Police Conference on ‘Migration and Integration’ 26 October 2010) This inaugural speech by the Berlin Police Commissioner in front of several hundred German and foreign police officers, journalists, and researchers on the occasion of a conference organized by the Berlin police, refers to both local and federal issues. The Commissioner defends his conception of police action by renewing his confidence in ‘prevention’ and by asserting the need to combine it with ‘inter-religious and intercultural dialogue’. This conference marked the end of a five-year experiment with ‘intercultural openness’ by the Berlin police (Interkulturelle …ffnung der Polizei) and, according to its promoters, the speech was supposed to legitimate the renewal of the project for a second five-year cycle. Looking beyond the Berlin context, the Commissioner was also responding, in a barely concealed way, to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had declared the ‘failure of Multikulti’, and to the hotly debated essay TiloSarrazin had published a few months before the conference, denouncing current policies of integration and the dangers that Islam supposedly represented for German society (Sarrazin, 2010).
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