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Islam belongs to Germany: Merkel

Islam belongs to Germany: Merkel
Amid mounting tensions over Islamophobia triggered by terror attacks in Paris, Chancellor Angela Merkel has assured Germany’s four million-strong Muslim community that they are an integral part of the society, saying “Islam belongs to Germany”.

“Our former President Christian Wulff said that Islam belongs to Germany. This is the case and I too hold the same view,” she said at a press conference here on Monday during a visit by Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Merkel said she is the chancellor of “all Germans” and this applies to all those who have been living permanently in this country.

With over four million people, Germany has the second largest Muslim community in Europe after France and three million of them are of Turkish origin. However, she stressed the need for further strengthening the dialogue between religions as there is still “lots of ignorance”.

Merkel’s comments come as leaders tried to stem the rise of an Islamophobia in the country following last week’s terror attacks by suspected radical Islamists in Paris, which killed 17 people.

Tensions have also been running high over migration sparked by an influx of refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Germany has been experiencing a surge in anti-Islam demonstrations across the country since they began in in the eastern city of Dresden in September-end.

Organised by the right-wing populist Patriotic Europeans Against Islamisation of the West, the weekly anti- Islam rallies have been protesting against the government’s asylum policy and “Islamisation of Germany”. The 12th demonstration in Dresden, that attracted around 25,000 people, was the largest so far, according to police estimates.

Agencies

Agencies

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