′Islam shouldn′t culturally shape Germany′ - Alexander Dobrindt claims | News | DW | 11.04.2018
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'Islam shouldn't culturally shape Germany' - Alexander Dobrindt claims

A leading German politician has dug his heels in to the debate over Islam in Germany. In an interview, Alexander Dobrindt said he wasn't discriminating against Muslims, but that Islam "has no cultural roots in Germany."

Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the Christian Social Union's (CSU) parliamentary party, defended against criticism on Wednesday that his conservative Bavarian party was seeking to marginalize Muslims while doubling down on the stance that "Islam is not part of Germany."

The comments by a high-ranking politician from the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) threaten to reignite a debate that the German government has been hoping to let peter out for weeks.

Read moreRefugee rift in Angela Merkel government sparks war of words

What Dobrindt said

Speaking with Funke media group, Dobrindt said:

  • "Muslims who want to integrate into our society are part of our country, but Islam is not part of Germany."
  • Islam "has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage."
  • Islam "doesn't culturally shape our country" and "it should not" be culturally influential in Germany.
  • "No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries."
  • Dobrindt also defended a plan to dramatically limit refugee family reunifications, saying: "Refugees should return to their home countries whenever this is possible. Family reunifications can also take place in pacified home regions and not only in Germany."

Read moreMistrust and Islamophobia see dramatic rise in Germany's melting pot

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Merkel: 'Islam is a part of Germany'

Rift in German government: Dobrindt's comments come as Merkel attempts to smooth over rifts in her coalition government between the Social Democrats (SPD), her CDU and the CSU. The CSU and the SPD in particular have been butting heads over refugee policy, with the Bavarian conservatives attempting to take a more hardline approach. 

Seehofer stand off with Merkel: In March, CSU party head and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer sparked controversy when he said in an interview that Islam was not part of Germany. The phrase was a central pillar in the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party platform in last year's general election. Shortly after Seehofer's comments, Merkel told parliament that Islam was part of Germany.

Bavarian state election looming: The CSU has upped its conservative rhetoric in recent weeks as part of an effort to win back voters from the AfD ahead of state elections on October 14, having conceded a large number of votes to the far-right party in last September's national election.

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Germany's new government off to a rocky start

rs/rt (AFP, dpa, epd)

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