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tiptrot.com May 27, 2018


German interior minister questions Islam's place in country

17 March 2018, 01:32 | Bernice Figueroa

'Islam doesn't belong to Germany', new interior minister says setting him on a collision course with Merkel who has stressed the need to integrate Muslims

Shashank Joshi

Germany's new interior minister said Friday he doesn't consider Islam to be a part of Germany, a position that puts him at odds with Chancellor Angela Merkel on the central question of migration.

"Our country is heavily influenced by Christianity - and a Jewish influence - but in the meantime four million Muslims are living in Germany and they also practise their religion here and these Muslims also belong to Germany and so their religion, Islam, also belongs to Germany", she said.

'Certain Christian-inspired aspects are part of daily life and culture in Germany, such as shops being closed on Sundays and public holidays that correspond to church holidays like Easter, Pentecost and Christmas.

"The Muslims who live among us are naturally part of Germany". "Of course the Muslims living here do belong to Germany".

The outspoken Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel's Christian Democrats, is new to the cabinet, which was sworn in on Wednesday. Many of them have a Turkish background and numerous more than a million migrants who have arrived in the country from the Middle East and elsewhere after Merkel adopted an open-door policy in mid-2015 are also Muslims.

Both Merkel's conservatives and their centre-left coalition partners - the Social Democrats - lost ground to the anti-immigrant AfD in September's national election following the arrival in Germany of more than a million migrants and refugees. The CDU/CSU bloc's support fell by about 8 percentage points from the 2013 election, with much of the fall attributed to the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).


The comment provoked little reaction at the time but when Christian Wulff, then president of the country, revived the phrase in 2010, it touched off a heated national debate about what it means to be German.

Normally Seehofer as interior minister would chair the talks.

Only this week, an 18-year-old Afghani refugee whose application to remain in Germany was rejected was arrested for allegedly murdering his 17-year-old girlfriend because she would not convert to Islam.

Horst Seehofer has always been a vocal critic of Mrs Merkel's refugee policies but has now taken up a key role at the heart of her new coalition.

Seehofer is particularly keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria's October regional election, when the AfD is expected to enter that state assembly.

Most of those who came across the Balkans route in 2015 passed through Seehofer's southern state of Bavaria, at times more than 10,000 a day, sparking a strong backlash in the region.



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