Add to My Yahoo!

Islam expert Tibi turns back on Germany

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Saturday October 7, 2006

Berlin- One of Germany's best-known experts on Islam says he is leaving after 44 years because he can no longer put up with being treated as a foreigner. "I'm fed up with being classed as a Syrian with a German passport," 62-year-old Bassam Tibi said in an article written for the Tagespiegel newspaper on Saturday.

"I still consider myself a stranger in this country and am treated accordingly," said the author of more than 30 books on Islamic civilization, the Middle East and the Mediterranean region.

Tibi, who lectures at the University of Goettingen in western Germany, called the Germans "miserable" and cast doubt on their ability to integrate.

He said he could no longer put up with the idea of having to feel grateful to his "host nation for allowing him to experience the German bourgeois existence."

Tibi's remarks came as the government has just started a dialogue with Germany's 3.2 million Muslims with the goal of speeding up their integration into German society.

The academic, who came to Germany as an 18-year-old, coined the term "Leitkultur" or dominant culture, which was later used by conservative German politicians to stress that migrants needed to adopt German values in order to become assimilated.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency