Merkel aide criticized for comments on Islam

2nd October 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 October 2006, BERLIN - The secretary general of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) came under fire from a Muslim group Sunday for saying Islam was the main cause of religious-motivated violence. "It is certainly painful for many Muslims to witness their religion being exploited for violence," Ronald Pofalla wrote in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag. But there were many Muslims who could be incited, he added. "The problem of religiously-motivated violence today is almost exclusively a problem of I

2 October 2006

BERLIN - The secretary general of Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) came under fire from a Muslim group Sunday for saying Islam was the main cause of religious-motivated violence.

"It is certainly painful for many Muslims to witness their religion being exploited for violence," Ronald Pofalla wrote in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

But there were many Muslims who could be incited, he added. "The problem of religiously-motivated violence today is almost exclusively a problem of Islam," Pofalla said.

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany accused the CDU politician of dealing in stereotypes and stoking up prejudices with his remarks.

"Such statements are incompatible with a democratic and enlightened society," said the council's general secretary, Aiman Mazyek.

Germany's Muslim community last week embarked on its first collective talks with the government about concerns facing the minority, which makes up 4 per cent of Germany's 82-million population.

The government has been calling for all Muslims in Germany to adopt the German language, affirm their support for democracy and help catch violent Islamists.

Muslim sensitivities were brought to the fore by the violent disturbances triggered by the Mohammed caricatures in Denmark late last year and the recent criticism of Pope Benedict's remarks about Islam and its relation to violence. Reactions from Muslims in Germany to both controversies were mainly calm, however.

Last week Deutsche Oper Berlin announced it was cancelling a controversial production of a Mozart opera because of the likelihood it might offend Muslims and lead to protests.

The original opera, Idomeneo, makes no reference to Islam, but director Hans Neuenfels introduced a scene to his production that depicts the decapitated heads of the Prophet Mohammed, Jesus Christ, the Buddha and Greek god Poseidon.

DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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