Excerpt:

When his children phone and ask him, "How are you feeling?" he answers, "Fine." Nonetheless, his depression sits deep inside like a virus in his body and has become a chronic condition – it comes and goes, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker, but it is always there.

Yilmaz A. is 60 years old and came with his wife to the Ruhr region of Germany from eastern Turkey some 36 years ago. Mr A., who's Kurdish, worked as a welder. The couple had three daughters, and lived quietly in the middle of the Ruhr – his only link to his home country being a satellite dish so that he could watch Turkish television.

His family isn't particularly religious. Neither his wife not his daughters wears a headscarf. Mr A. never goes to the mosque, preferring instead the tearoom. Ten years ago, he lost his job and did not look for a new one. He began to lose himself in thought and his psychological state became unbalanced.

Mr A. says that, for a long time, he didn't know what was wrong with him. Neither did his doctors. Only later did a psychiatrist recognize his symptoms as being those of clinical depression and, since then, he has been taking the anti-depressant drug Fluoxetin.

Lack of interest in the needs of the Muslims

Mr A. is just one of 15 million migrants living in Germany. Among them are some 3.5 million persons of Muslim faith, who have turned Islam into Germany's second largest religious community. For far too long, the majority society has not interested itself in the life led by "the foreigners" apart from their work in the coal mines and on the construction sites.


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