Merkel presenting an award to anti-Muslim cartoonist Kurt Westergaard
Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Muslims must obey the constitution and not sharia law if they want to live in Germany, which is debating the integration of its 4 million-strong Muslim population.
In the furor following a German central banker’s blunt comments about Muslims failing to integrate, moderate leaders including President Christian Wulff have urged Germans to accept that “Islam also belongs in Germany.”
But whereas the media stressed Wulff’s comments about Islam, Merkel – the daughter of a Protestant pastor brought up in East Germany, who leads a predominantly Catholic party – said Wulff had emphasized Germany’s “Christian roots and its Jewish roots.”
“Now we obviously also have Muslims in Germany. But it’s important in regard to Islam that the values represented by Islam must correspond with our constitution,” said Merkel. “What applies here is the constitution, not sharia.”
Merkel said Germany needed imams “educated in Germany and who have their social roots here” and concluded: “Our culture is based on Christian and Jewish values and has been for hundreds of years, not to say thousands.”