CAIRO - Comparing the compelling atmosphere facing Muslim and Mexican immigrants in Germany and the United States, the University of Houston-Victoria has held a three-day symposium on the racism targeting both communities.
"I was once asked to send back a white journalist without media bias," Thalia Longoria, a former journalist who now teaches for an El Paso school district, told The Victoria Advocate on Friday, November 16.
Longoria, of Mexican origin, confirmed that she has often confronted racism while reporting on the border.
Her problems, shared by millions of Mexicans in the United States and Muslims in Germany were the subject of a three day symposium held at the University of Houston-Victoria.
The symposium titled, "'We Called For Workers But People Came': Muslims in Germany and Mexicans in the United States", is sponsored by the University of Houston-Victoria, the Robert Bosch Stiftung foundation and the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
It runs from Thursday through Saturday.
Gathering educators and journalists, the symposium highlighted the hardships faced either by Muslims in Germany or Mexicans in the US.
Macarena HernÃ¡ndez, a journalist and UHV educator, said she wasn't happy with the assignments she was given early in her career when she was reporting between Mexican and US lines.
"I wasn't being asked to cover things that reflected what was actually happening on the border," HernÃ¡ndez said.
KÃ¼bra GÃ¼mÃ¼say, a popular Muslim blogger in Germany, the German Muslim blogger, added that she would omit her Turkish fluency from her resume because she didn't think it had any value at the time.
Nellie Ugarte, an educator from El Paso, also faced similar pressures to suppress her native tongue after her mother moved her across the border.
It was a dark two years when I first started learning English," Ugarte said.
I felt like I was living two different lives.
Exposing stories of immigrant grievances, the Symposium reflected amazing similarities between Muslims and Mexicans.
I've been amazed at the similarities between the two," GÃ¼mÃ¼say, the popular Muslim blogger in Germany, said
"If they cannot shape the color of their communities, they should be able to shape their environment," the 24-year-old added.
At 31.8 million in 2010, Mexican-Americans comprise 63 percent of the US Hispanic population and 10 percent of the total US population, according to the Pew Research Center.
Germany has between 3.8 and 4.3 million Muslims, making up some 5 percent of the total 82 million population, according to government-commissioned studies.
Germans have grown hostile to the Muslim presence recently, with a heated debate on the Muslim immigration into the country.
A recent poll by the Munster University found that Germans view Muslims more negatively than their European neighbors.
Germany's daily Der Spiegel had warned last August that the country is becoming intolerant towards its Muslim minority.
According to a 2010 nationwide poll by the research institute Infratest-dimap, more than one third of the respondents would prefer "a Germany without Islam."