Merkel speaks out against anti-Muslim remarks

September 3, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected controversial remarks about Turks, Arabs and Muslims made by a board member of Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, as “absurd”, a Turkish daily has reported.

In his latest book, “Germany Does Itself In,” Thilo Sarrazin claimed that Muslim immigration and a high birth rate among Turkish immigrants will harm the country’s long-term economic potential.

However Merkel in the interview published by Hürriyet on Friday reiterated her rejection of the allegations.

“There are many Turks living in Germany. Most of them are third- and fourth-generation immigrants. I think they have adapted very well. … I state this clearly: What we mean by adaptation is not forced assimilation and denying of one’s cultural roots. When Turks have worries and problems, I am their chancellor, too.”

The German Chancellor said it was not possible either to accept Sarrazin’s claims that Turkish, Arab and African immigrants were making Germany “more stupid.”

“They have an ostracizing effect. Groups in our society feel injured by them … It is the paramount duty of the German state to actively incorporate immigrants into our society,” Merkel said. “We would like to present all the possibilities of an open country to our immigrant citizens. These people should receive their share from social, economic and cultural life. But we also expect them to actively ask for this and show effort.”

According to the German leader, “problems should be openly expressed, but positive improvements should not be neglected.”

“There are many examples in Germany that show successful adaptation is taking place,” she said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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