The parliamentary faction leader of the German Christian Democrats (CDU), Volker Kauder
A leading member of the German parliament's conservative bloc and an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel says Islam is not part of the German society.
“Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and so does not belong in Germany,” Volker Kauder, who heads Merkel's conservative bloc at the country's lower house, told the Passauer Neue Presse
“But Muslims do belong in Germany. As state citizens, of course, they enjoy their full rights,” he added.
The remarks come at a time when Germany is holding a conference on the integration of the four million Muslims living in Germany, where Islamophobia is on the rise.
“Volker Kauder is the last crusader for the conservatives. He is putting a bomb in the Islam conference,” said senior opposition Social Democrat MP Thomas Oppermann.
Kauder, a senior member of Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), is “denigrating and marginalizing all Muslims in Germany; that course is utterly wrong,” Oppermann added.
Two years ago, anger erupted over a book by Germany’s former senator of finance, Thilo Sarrazin, who argued that Turkish and Arab immigrants threatened the German culture.
Muslim leaders have accused the center-right government in Berlin of trying to downplay the danger of hate crimes against religious groups.