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October 2011, Volume 18, Number 4

France, Germany

France. A French court in September 2011 levied the first fines on women who wore niqabs in public, full face veils that leave only slits for the eyes. Two women were fined E80 and E120. The fines were paid by a group that plans to appeal the sentences to France's highest court and to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Interior Ministry reported that police stopped 201 women wearing niqabs between April and September 2011 and issued 159 citations. The ministry early in 2011 estimated that 2,000 women wore niqabs in public in France.

Germany. Germany has two counts of foreigners. The register of foreigners, which counts non-German citizens in the country at least three months, reported 6.75 million foreigners at the end of 2010; the census bureau estimated 7.2 million foreigners. A quarter of the foreigners in Germany are Turks who have lived an average of 24 years in Germany, followed by eight percent Italians (average 28 years in Germany) and six percent Poles (average 10 years in Germany).

A third of the Turkish foreigners in Germany, that is, Turks who have not become naturalized Germans, were born in Germany. Since 2000, babies born in Germany to legally-present parents are considered German citizens, but they can lose this German citizenship if they do not give up their parents' citizenship before age 23.

Some 798,000 people, 86 percent foreigners, moved to Germany in 2010, while 671,000 people, 79 percent foreigners, left Germany. Net migration of 127,000 reflected the net in-migration of 154,000 foreigners and net out-migration of 26,000 Germans. The three largest contributors of migrants who settled in Germany in 2010 were Romania, 25,700; Poland, 22,600; and Bulgaria, 15,600. Some 5,900 more Turks left Germany in 2010 than arrived.

In October 1961, Turkey and Germany signed an agreement allowing German employers to recruit Turkish Gastarbeiter.

In 1985, journalist Guenter Wallraff disguised himself as a Turkish worker and wrote about the discrimination he encountered in the book Ganz Unten. A quarter century later, banker Thilo Sarrazin's book, Deutschland schafft sich ab, argued that higher fertility among "underachieving" Turks and other Muslims would diminish Germany over time.