05 May 2016

'Muslims - but not Islam - part of Germany,' says senior conservative lawmaker Kauder

Volker Kauder, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Islam had not influenced Germany historically or culturally. But he warned against excluding Muslims from German society as desired by some populists.

Kauder told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" in an interview published on Thursday that he considered a statement by former German President Christian Wulff saying that Islam was part of Germany to have been "well-meant," but imprecise.

"But just so there is no misunderstanding: The Muslims themselves are a part of Germany, no question about it," he said.

Kauder, who heads the parliamentary group of the union comprised of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), said he had several reasons for not sharing Wulff's opinion.

Among other things, he said, Islam had not shaped Germany "historically and culturally." He also argued that the religion of Islam was not based on a homogeneous set of teachings.

"There is certainly not just the one Islam, as this statement suggests," he said, adding that Islam also took on forms "that we can never accept in Germany." [Deutsche Welle] Read more