Merkel says Islam ‘belongs to Germany’ ahead of Dresden rally

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media after her meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Chancellery in Berlin, January 12, 2015.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to media after her meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the Chancellery in Berlin, January 12, 2015.


(Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday Islam “belongs to Germany“, in a clear repudiation of anti-immigration protesters gathering in Dresden and other cities.

A day after walking arm-in-arm with French President Francois Hollande at the front of a massive march in Paris to honor the victims of killings by Islamic militants, Merkel received the Turkish prime minister and urged dialogue among religions.

The conservative chancellor pointed to comments made by former German president Christian Wulff, who said in 2010 that Islam was part of Germany, triggering a fierce debate.

“Former president Wulff said Islam belongs to Germany. That is true. I also hold this opinion,” Merkel said at a news conference with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who also took part with other world leaders in the Paris march on Sunday.

She was speaking hours before marches by a movement dubbed PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, were due to begin in several German cities.

Such demonstrations, launched in Dresden, have been dwarfed by counter-protests. Merkel has said PEGIDA’s rallies are organized by people with “hatred in their hearts”.

Merkel said her government was doing everything it could to ensure migrants were being successfully integrated into German society regardless of their religion.

Nearly two in three of the four million Muslims in Germany are of Turkish origin. Roughly half are German citizens.

But Merkel acknowledged the need for better dialogue between religions, praising Muslims for publicly rejecting the use of violence after the Paris killings and calling Turkey an ally in the fight against terrorism.

She and Davutoglu announced that their governments would begin regular German-Turkish consultations, a format in which the cabinets meet once a year and which is reserved for some of Berlin’s closest allies, like Israel and France.

Merkel and other German politicians are due to take part in a solemn vigil at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Tuesday. Muslim organizations called the event to remember the victims of last week’s Islamist militant assaults on the French satirical journal Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris.

Davutoglu said it was important to fight all forms of Islamophobia in Germany. Speaking later in Berlin, Davutoglu said that if Turkey was accepted in future as a European Union member it would send a powerful message of how Muslims and Christians could live together in peace in Europe.

“If Turkey as a secular and moderate country is not accepted into the EU because of cultural prejudice, that will give a negative message to European people,” he said.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)


Categories: Europe, Germany

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5 replies

  1. Sir George Bernard Shaw

    I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him – the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity.

    I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

  2. In the Holy Quran, Chap. 5 verse 4, Allah states, ‘This day have I perfected your religion for you and have completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as religion’. The Quran defines a Muslim (one who follows the religion of Islam)as one who submits himself completely to Allah, and is the doer of good. I have never understood how religious differences can create so much hatred that people are ready to kill others who do not hold the same religious beliefs. We all unequivocally believe that all religions are from God. All living beings are also a creation of God. It is therefore, lack of sensitivity to ignore that God would never require us to turn against our own fellow beings. There must be a missing piece in the puzzle.
    Also, we have the tendency to jump on the bandwagon without being personally informed of why we are doing so. In Chapter 20 verse 2, Allah addresses the Holy Prophet as ‘O Perfect Man. In Chapter 36 verse 2, Allah again addresses the Holy Prophet as ‘O Perfect Leader’. A perfect religion preached by a ‘Perfect Man and Perfect Leader’ cannot be wrong in any way unless the people who observe it wrong it, or others malign it for their own selfish motives. Let us think through what is being asked of us before we leap into action. Let us not be enslaved by our endeavours to pursue materialistic gains by hiding under the banner of misled jehadists.
    Hats off to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel who rightly comments, that Islam “belongs to Germany“,aqnd that there is ‘the need for better dialogue between religions’. Islam is the only religion which can be practiced by all. Islam belongs to the whole of Humanity. It is the need of the day to get rid of Islamophobia and to give Islam the pristine status it so justly deserves!

  3. Interfaith dialogue where representatives of different faiths come together and talk about their religions has been a hallmark of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It is wonderful to hear that Chancellor Merkel feels the same. She is to be commended for her wisdom at this time of International strife .

  4. Angela is an angel who has spoken the truth loudly and she is not afraid of any political or fanatic religious upheaval. Let us hope there will be peace in Germany as it is in America.

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