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Immigration debate

November 14, 2010

Former German central-bank board member Thilo Sarrazin has toned down the anti-immigrant rhetoric in his controversial book, "Germany does away with itself."

Thilo Sarrazin stands in front of a poster for his book
Some of Sarrazin's ideas found popular support within GermanyImage: AP

Former central banker Thilo Sarrazin, who caused a storm in Germany in August with a controversial book on immigrant integration, has toned down the rhetoric in his treatise.

German weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported Sunday that a key line in Sarrazin's book, titled "Germany is doing away with itself," has been removed from the 14th edition.

The sentence claimed that migrants from the Middle East were a "genetic minus" for Germany.

Also, the modifier "in the long term" was added to the sentence, "In demographic terms, the enormous fertility of Muslim immigrants poses a threat to the equilibrium of culture and civilization in an ageing Europe."

The changes slightly soften some of the statements that had especially upset spokesmen for the Islamic community.

In August, Sarrazin said Muslim culture posed a threat to European societies, telling reporters that Germans were in danger of becoming "strangers in their own country."

Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) has begun proceedings to expel Sarrazin, who came to prominence as a finance minister of the state of Berlin. Sarrazin also previously served as a board member with Germany's central bank but was suspended over his remarks.

He has denied racism or right-wing views, but has admitted he is worried that the book might encourage those views.

The book, which urges German leaders to step up scrutiny of potential immigrants to the country, sparked a furious round of public debate centered on government integration policies.

Author: Darren Mara (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Kyle James