German politician: Islam does not belong in Germany
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULSep 23, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Sep 23, 2015 12:00 am
Edmung Stoiber, the honorary chairman of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), told the Bild newspaper that he refuses to adopt Merkel's remark that "Islam belongs in Germany."
Stoiber, the former minister-president of the state of Bavaria and former chairman of the CSU, said Islam contradicts German traditions. In an interview with the Bild newspaper, Stoiber said he does not conform to Merkel's statement that Islam is part of Germany. "The Muslims belong to Germany, not Islam. Islam is not a core element of German culture and also does not characterize the mind of our history and tradition."
In January 2015, German Chancellor Merkel said "Islam belongs in Germany" in a speech to rebuke anti-immigration protesters.
"When we talk about the fact that Germany has changed, then this must be apparent: We have a leading culture in Germany, which is also enshrined in the constitution: Tolerance, freedom of press and religion. This leading culture of the constitution cannot stand up for dispositions - no matter how many immigrants come to us," he added.
Germany has witnessed anti-immigrant and Islamophobic demonstrations following the record influx of refugees. Several refugee centers were hit by violent protests and arson attacks. In the face of widespread hatred toward Muslims in German society, German authorities, including Chancellor Merkel and President Joachim Gauck, condemned the series of xenophobic attacks. Visiting a damaged refugee center to express support for refugees last month, Merkel was greeted by protestors shouting "traitor, traitor."
Anti-immigration ideology and xenophobia have become more visible in the country as a result of the efforts of political parties like the NPD and Alternative for Germany (AFD), as well as anti-Islam and anti-immigrant initiatives like Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), which have staged anti-immigrant rallies and have drawn thousands of people throughout Europe, especially in Germany. Attacks against refugees and asylum centers in Germany have increased sharply over the past year. Officials say there were around 202 such attacks in the first six months of 2015, as many as during the whole previous year.