Are you a member of al-qaeda?

Are students from arab countries discriminated against in germany??

The tenor of the press release of the student association fzs sounds exaggerated. There is talk of racist discrimination and attitude tests for foreign students in germany. The practice of questioning fellow students from so-called dangerous countries who are applying for a residence permit in germany is criticized. As a rule, this refers to countries with a muslim population.

The legal basis for these surveys lies in section 73 of the federal residence act, which authorizes the interior ministers of the countries to conduct specific surveys. Particularly criticized by students is the decree ied by the state of north rhine-westphalia on 11.July 2007, which remains secret to this day. Even the parliamentarians of the state parliament of nrw are not aware of the decree, which makes parliamentary control impossible, emphasizes the fzs.

The nrw refugee council already drew attention to this last year:

According to our information, questions are asked there about knowledge of certain organizations or contact with them. This questionnaire should be presented to all citizens of certain countries such as iraq, iran, afghanistan or pakistan. This decree is handled as a classified matter and is not even accessible to lawyers, although filling it out (or not filling it out) could entail possible legal consequences.

This practice has been heavily criticized by lawyers. According to the fzs, the refugee council has been forbidden to publish the sample of a questionnaire on its homepage with the threat of a lawsuit. Meanwhile, however, it is known that interviewed persons u.A. Had to answer the following questions:

"Are you a member of al-qaeda?"

"Are you a member of an organization or party that supports violent change in the existing system in other countries, e.G. In the united states?.B. In palastina, supported or advocated ?"

"Did you cooperate with the german secret service?"

What happens to the data?

Andreas weber of the federal association of foreign students also criticizes this policy of secrecy. It is not known how many students were questioned, nor whether students who had to undergo this questioning had problems with their visas as a result. It also remains unclear what happens to the data collected.

The deputy press officer of the data protection commissioner of north rhine-westphalia, nils schroder, emphasized to telepolis that the data obtained through the interviews can be passed on to the security agencies mentioned in the law, i.E. The federal intelligence service, the military counter-intelligence service and the customs criminal investigation office, and can be found in the files of the foreign offices. His office had no special insight into this data. The reason for this, however, is that no one affected by the surveys has yet contacted the data protection commissioner. This is necessary, however, for the university to be able to exercise its power of control.

An expert opinion, led by munster lawyer wilhelm achelpohler, came to the conclusion that the general examination of students was unacceptable and in conflict with article 3, paragraph 3 of the basic law. The law stipulates that no one may be favored or discriminated against because of his or her origin, ancestry, religious or political convictions. In his assessment, the legal experts u.A. On rulings of the federal constitutional court on dragnet searches. Here, too, as in the case of the surveys, it was predominantly people from countries with a large muslim population who were affected, which the judges saw as stigmatization.

Danger of racism on campus

Another aspect that should not be forgotten in the debate about the targeted survey of students from certain countries is pointed out by the federal association of foreign students (bundesverband auslandischer studierender). He warns that unequal treatment of non-german fellow students breeds resentment and racism at universities. According to a study conducted by the association in the fall of 2007, twelve percent of the german students surveyed felt that there were too many foreigners in germany.

For other reasons, the german student union sounded the alarm after a 2006 study concluded that a quarter of the then 186.000 foreign students complained of very rough difficulties with visas and residence permits in germany. The student union worries about the fact that the attractiveness of the science location germany could damage.

A treatment system graded according to the importance of migrants for germany as a location could remedy the situation. For example, the berlin chamber of industry and commerce, together with the chamber of commerce, has set up a business immigration service aimed at migrants in prominent positions, including senior executives in the business or academic sectors. Perhaps the service, which is currently being problematized by artist farida heuck through a sculpture in the middle of berlin-kreuzberg, will soon be expanded to include elite students as well.

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