In the last 70 years Germany has had a long-term project of trying to reestablish her image as a civilized country and seeking authentic forgiveness from the international community for her dirty deeds in World War II.
As part of this project, Germany has become a leader in liberal politics in the European Union. It has been among strongest advocates for bailouts of countries whose economies are failing, for pro-Israeli policies, for liberal immigration, for environmental concerns, and for social benefits.
It has largely succeeded. Germany is now viewed positively by a large segment of the international community. But now it has a problem.
As part of its humanitarian image, it has agreed to accept one million Muslim refugees from the Mid East. A percentage of these Muslim immigrants believe that the Koran is literally true and should be practiced in Western democratic countries. Thus they believe they have the right – even the obligation – to fight jihad and work towards having all peoples be subjected to Allah, the Koran, and the Imams. This can be done peacefully if possible, but violently if necessary.
As a consequence of this belief, there have been a series of suicide bombings and mass killings by Muslim fundamentalists. As a consequence of this terrorism, the right wing in Germany has been rising, bringing fears of the traditional Nazi spirit.
Thus we have a thesis: liberal democracy in Germany, with the consequences of continual terrorism; and the anti-thesis: right wing ideology, including closed borders and Islamophobia.
Fundamental Islam brings a unique problem for liberal political philosophy in the area of freedom of religion. How much freedom should we give a religion that has as its mission to end the freedom of religion?
Thank you, Germany. If you can work out the synthesis, perhaps you can lead the U.S. in ways we can work out our synthesis: how to be compassionate to immigrants without deteriorating the country.