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German Interior Minister: Islam Does Not “Belong” in Germany

German Interior Minister: Islam May Not Belong in Germany

by Theunis Bates (AOL)

He’s only been in the job for three days, but Germany’s new interior minister has already sparked a major controversy by suggesting that Islam does not “belong” in the country.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, a member of the Bavaria’s Christian Social Union party, made the headline-grabbing comments as police investigated the killing of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt Airport on Wednesday. Prosecutors suspect that the attacker was acting alone and had been motivated by radical Islamist beliefs. The suspect — a 21-year-old Muslim immigrant from Kosovo — is now being held on two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder.

In his first news conference as minister, Friedrich said Thursday that Muslims were part of modern German society but added, “To say that Islam belongs in Germany is not a fact supported by history,” according to the British daily The Guardian. The German press has interpreted that statement as a rebuttal of a speech given by German President Christian Wulff in October, in which he said that decades of Muslim immigration meant that “Islam belongs to Germany.”

Although Friedrich went on to state that his chief goal as interior minister was to “bring society together and not polarize it,” his words have been damned as divisive by other members of the coalition cabinet as well as the opposition, Deutsche Welle reported.

“Of course Islam belongs in Germany,” said Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the Free Democratic Party, according to news site TheLocal.de. “I assume that the new interior minister … takes the responsibility for integration in his department seriously and is committed to solidarity and not marginalization.”

Another FDP politician, Hartfrid Wolff, declared today, “Islam has been a real part of Germany for several generations. … It is just as unhelpful to deny this fact as to naively romanticize multiculturalism.” Meanwhile Renate Künast, a member of the opposition Green party, joked that Friedrich was already “smashing the porcelain” despite having “only been interior minister for 24 hours.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was probably hoping that her new hire would avoid causing any unnecessary outrage in his first week. Her government is still recovering from a high-profile scandal involving former defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, who stepped down Tuesday after he was found to have plagiarized large chunks of his Ph.D. dissertation.

But any high-level discussion of the role of Islam in Germany was always likely to cause controversy. The issue has been the subject of heated debate since the publication in August of an incendiary book by a former board member of the Central Bank. In “Deutschland Schafft Sich Ab” (“Germany Does Away With Itself”), Thilo Sarrazin claimed that Germany’s national character was being watered down by its 4 million Muslims (about 5.5 percent of the population), many of whom, he argued, refuse to integrate. “I don’t want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live in a mostly Muslim country where Turkish and Arabic are widely spoken, women wear headscarves and the day is measured out by the muezzin’s call to prayer,” he wrote. “If I want that experience, I can just take a vacation in the Orient.”

Sarrazin was fired from the bank’s board after the book’s release. But Bavarian premier and CSU member Horst Seehofer picked up his argument and called for an end to immigration from Turkey and Arab nations. “It is clear that immigrants from foreign cultural circles, like Turkey or Arab countries, have a hard time,” he said in an interview with Focus magazine in October. “That leads me to the conclusion that we do not need any more migrants from other cultural centers.”

That statement in turn inspired President Wulff to try to silence opponents of immigration by stating that Islam “belongs in Germany.” The government had hoped the head of state’s conciliatory speech would mark an end to the immigration debate. Friedrich’s intervention, however, suggests that this hot topic is sure to continue burning for a long time yet.

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  • Dan

    @Generation MuslYm: Let me know when you express similar outrage over Pakistanis being killed by Bahraini protesters. If you think xenophobia and bigotry is limited to the West, then I got a bridge to sell you. As a Pakistani, in spite of all this hoopla in the West, I still feel a Hell of a lot safer here than in the Gulf, especially Bahrain.

    @Percey: Tamurlane is WIDELY despised in the Arab world (especially Syria), but loved in Uzbekistan. An interesting fact that Islamophobes should take note: when Tamurlane’s forces conquered Anatolia and jailed Beyazit II IIRC, Europeans were so alarmed over the rapidly approaching forces that they aided the Ottoman Empire in repelling his forces, choosing to side with the devil they know over the devil they don’t know.

  • Khushboo

    ^Yes, some Muslims are violent and some Christians are violent too. WTH is your point?! No one’s playing the victim card here and no one said that Muslims never committed crimes. What we hate is people blaming our religion for what some bad Muslims have done!

    Many non-Muslims have agreed that you loons are getting loonier with your racist/xenophobic/Islamophobic comments. Maybe the economy is making you guys crazy and it’s easier to blame a Muslim for everything!

  • Whats up

    @generation muslym

    Listen you studied history of the region written by a bunch of un-educated people, just recently Muslims burned a church in Egypt because they didn’t agree with a christian egyptian man being in love with a musilim woman , and i met christian iraqis and not one of them had a positive thing to say about islam , and what about about the assasination in pakistan of a christian government official, and the burning of churches in iraq in the past few months.

    None of you people quote me anything about the BBC because their facts are all distorted , the BBC plays political games with the news.

    The historical facts i told you earlier are all true , you can’t prove that they are not , the first crusade happend because muslims were killing christians , and the christians went to the byzantine emperor and asked for protection and help and hence you had the first crusade.

    Yo listen chump i ani’t feeding you no BS your feeding youself , there you go i bring up Egypt and you call it the oldest trick in the book, talk about running from the truth, and also the fact that you’re still ignoring the facts of what the Turks did , you people are all a bunch of hypocrits you you cry about the crusades this and the crusades that , but never ask yourself what was the real reason for all the violence against , you want to play the victim all the time , like muslims never commited crimes in history , go have one of your non muslim friends have a real conversation with a Hindu or any other religion that knows of islam you need to hear what comes out of everyones mouth.

  • NassirH

    Percey:

    Also, you’ll n notice that it was an Islamophobe who decided to invoke history and make absurd claims.

  • NassirH

    Percey:

    It seems to me that Timur is not very popular in the Muslim world. Perhaps he’s respected in Uzbekistan, but probably not in Iran or Turkey.

  • Percey

    The whining about the crusades and reconquista is a hypocritical and selective application of modern ethics to history; the people on this site never describe Timur, a Muslim and one of the most brutal imperialists in history, the same way. One poster condemned the crusaders of burning a library yet of course he didn’t mention the fact that Muslims burnt the vast library of Nalanda.

  • Generation MuslYm

    Whatsup

    Just because you aren’t saying things are good doesn’t make your views right and doesn’t make statistics you’ve pulled them out of your ass true. Judging by your rambling posts, you are the last person here to question one’s education. I’ve probably have more knowledge about history in my finger than your body. I’ve studied the history of the region enough to see through your false facts. But I’m not here to tell you that, it already shows.
    In Iraq and Afghanistan, oh please where have you been the past ten years when the US government invaded these two countries on false information? Enlighten me on all these Christians being attacked and churches being burned. Because I have spent some time in the region myself and everyone seemed to be getting along just well. So unless you can offer me a valid source not taken out of context, don’t try to spoon feed me that BS because I know it’s not true. And please don’t bring up Egypt, because that’s the oldest trick in the book. Okay, let’s say for the sake of argument, that is why the US has been meddling around in the region. And if you think all that the Muslims have taken is justified, then I’m not going to waste my time trying to make sense out of anything you say. You are the one whose head is in the sand.

  • George Carty

    About Muslims in America versus Muslims in Europe, I think the issue is that Muslim immigrants to America were usually highly ambitious members of the intellectual elite.

    By contrast, Muslim immigrants in Europe were usually brought in as cheap labour in response to the post-WWII labour shortage. Worse, many of the industries for which they were brought in to work ended up closing down anyway.

    A case in point is the mill towns of Lancashire and Yorkshire – even Pakistanis willing to work there for low wages (by British standards) didn’t stand a chance against Indian workers in India or Chinese workers in China, as those countries have a cost of living several times lower than Britain’s…

  • Masa

    Whats up,

    “just as your muslim so called scolars would have you beleive that spain was liberated from a decaying culture”

    It’s not just Muslim ‘so-called’ scholars that would attest to that, any honest historian would say the same, but to various degrees, of course.

    Btw, your tit-for-tat argument is incredibly childish. You make it as if ‘the West’ and ‘the Muslim World’ are two separate monolithic blocks of civilisation that simply whacks each other back and forth in some silly game of playground dominance. I suggest that you take your own advice and ‘Go back to school or pick up a book and gain some knowledge’.

    Look up some historical facts about the Crusades while you’re at it. Check out the BBC’s coverage of the matter, at the very least. They’ve published some books about it.

    Ignorance is curable, blatant stupidity – from the type of intellectual arrogance which you have just displayed – isn’t.

  • Whats up

    @ generation Muslym

    i didn’t distort anything , it seems muslims have a distorted view of history, you see us in the west or as you would say us white folks , view our so called western imperialism as a liberating the middle east from the dark ages , just as your muslim so called scolars would have you beleive that spain was liberated from a decaying culture , and that people benefited in the long from the murder and rape by the muslim moors , sure islam gave spain a little math and science during the occupation but the western nations are doing the samething right now in the middle east, it seems when muslims commit crimes other muslims are silent on the matter or just say hey they weren’t real muslims anyways , well that seems like fact distortion more than anything, and listen History is my thing and i’m calling you out on your lack of Historical knowledge, you are the ignorant one here , i never said any of the things that happend in history was a good thing i’m just giving you the straight up facts to why things are the way they are today, and if you don’t like it go bury your head in the sand.
    What about the Turks are you gonna tell me they were justified in robbing 50 % of the Hungarian population and sending them to the middle east as slaves, and occupying half of Hungary for 150 years , while they murdered and raped everyone in central and east europe all in the name of islam.

    Go back to school or pick up a book and gain some knowledge , we all know the only reason the U.S is in middle east is because of oil. Listen every action has a reaction , so learn that so when muslims attack and burn chrches in egypt and iraq and other arab lands and attack christians there will always be a reaction in the west , you need to understand no matter how much the west says they are secular their populations are majority christian .

  • Generation MuslYm

    @ Dan

    [This is why I hate it when Muslims hold a victimization mentality.]

    Really, Dan, is all that’s happening to Muslims in the west just a “victimization mentality.” The burning of mosques in England, Reporters, activists, and politicians calling for laws to prohibit Muslims from practicing their faith, shouting at children to go home and calling them terrorists, the US congress setting up a obviously bigoted hearing on “Radical Islam” and everyone is afraid of this imaginary Muslim when two thirds of the terrorist attacks on this country since 9/11 have been by WHITE RIGHT WING CRIMINALS yet no one seems to be afraid of them, yet they’re afraid of some guy sitting in a cave somewhere in Asia, you think we are victimizing ourselves! Wake up man!

    @ What’s up

    You have a completely distorted (not to mention screwed up) view of history. So in your words, the raping and pillaging by Western imperialists of the Muslim world was because the Moors came and liberated, yes LIBERATED Spain from the decaying culture of the dark ages and turned it into one of the most successful societies in terms of social and scientific advancements which was purged by the inquisition turning Spain into a monarchistic ruled by the idea that the earth was flat and everything rotated around it. What about the rest of the world that suffered under the boot of the imperialists for the past 400 years, what do you call that? Collateral damage right, because if they’re not white and like us, who cares! By your means, we should have the same standard of liberty as Saudi Arabia (a nation that the US government has supported for decades), instead of being the better country. Wow your logic makes as much sense as a screen door on a submarine. Don’t try to justify your ignorance and lack of real historical knowledge because here we will call you out on it.

  • Whats up

    All you muslims need to understand why europeans don’t trust muslims or view them with suspicion. After the fall of the western roman empire , all the fromer lands became free, and 200 years later islam came about , and when the arabs and persians had there chance they invaded europe from spain and took over half of spain, now when they did this they forced everyone at the time to become muslims and enslaved the ones who refused for 500 years they did this , than the Turks went on a jihad into eastern and central europe they murdered , rape and and sent many non muslims to become slaves in muslim lands. Now after centuries of warfare in spain and in Hungary alot of anger and hatred grew in people and the first crusade was nothing more than a self defense war , because at the time just like now muslims were murdering christians and pretending hey we didn’t do nothing wrong.

    So when the 16th century came along europe got organzied again and went to get some revenge for crimes commited against them , hence you got colonialism , so really looking at the big picture you muslims did it to yourselves.

    When Christians could build a temple in saudia arabia or even better in your holy city of mecca , than maybe we’ll calm down a give you some breathing space, until than you deal with the west you created.

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