"Germany is no arbitrary destination. Those who come here need to be aware of our rules of living together," Gabriel told German tabloid newspaper Bild. To facilitate that process, the vice chancellor announced that the first 20 articles of the country's constitution have been translated into Arabic. About 10,000 copies have already been printed and will be distributed at refugee registration centers. That will hardly be enough for all 800,000 to 1 million refugees who are expected to apply for asylum in Germany by the end of this year.
Those articles are usually considered to be the foundational elements of modern-day Germany and include freedom of speech and other basic rights.
"The separation between church and state, the fact that men and women have equal rights, homosexuality is nothing abnormal, that civil unions can be freely chosen, that we are a country with freedom of expression which includes criticism of religions and our intolerance of anti-semitism are all principles which we need to explain -- but we nevertheless expect those who come here to accept [those principles]," Gabriel said in the interview. "Be supportive and be demanding -- that applies to integration, as well."
Speaking to Bild, Gabriel refuted claims that refugees should read the constitution in German -- and not in Arabic: "People who come here must not only learn the German language, but also learn the rules of the game of living together... I am convinced that the first 20 articles of our constitution are what shape our culture."