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Conservatives slam Wulff for Islam remarks

The Local · 5 Oct 2010, 14:01

Published: 05 Oct 2010 14:01 GMT+02:00

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Wulff riled his fellow Christian Democrats by saying Islam had become an important part of German society in a speech commemorating the 20th anniversary of German reunification on Sunday.

While several Christian Democrats and their Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) allies grudgingly admitted Muslims had earned a place in Germany, they bristled at the idea they were changing the core social fabric of the country.

“The speech was easily misunderstood,” CSU politician Norbert Geis told Bild on Tuesday. “If the president wanted to equate Islam in Germany with Christianity and Judaism, then I'd consider that wrong.”

Christian Democrat Wolfgang Bosbach, the head of parliament's interior affairs committee, also said Islam could not expect to be put on the same level as the faiths based solely on the New and Old Testament.

“Islam has certainly become part of the reality of daily life in Germany, but we belong to a Christian-Judeo tradition,” he said.

In his first major speech on Sunday since taking office in July, Wulff extended the hand of friendship to Muslims, saying the challenge of integrating them into society was comparable to reunifying the country after the Cold War.

"Christianity is of course part of Germany. Judaism is of course part of Germany. This is our Judeo-Christian history ... But now Islam is also part of Germany," he said in his speech. "When German Muslims write to me to say 'you are our president', I reply with all my heart 'yes, of course I am your president'."

His comments were welcomed by leading German Muslim groups as an important sign that they were not second-class citizens in Germany.

But out of 1,008 Germans surveyed by YouGov for a poll published on Tuesday, a whopping 66 percent disagreed with their president's views on Islam. Only 24 percent of those surveyed believed Muslims were as much a part of the country as much as Christians and Jews.

And the Bavarian Social Affairs Minister Christine Haderthauer made clear in an interview with daily Leipziger Volkszeitung that she also did not agree with Wulff's assessment.

“Such remarks can be misunderstood,” she told the paper. “Religious freedom must not become religious equality.”

Haderthauer's party the CSU is a fierce proponent of keeping crucifixes in public schoolroom classrooms in staunchly Catholic Bavaria.

DAPD/The Local/AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:27 October 5, 2010 by dankworth
Conservatives bristle at the idea muslims are changing the core social fabric of the country? Where are they living, on the moon? Deny, deny, deny, just make money from the cheap labor muslims provide and don't rock the boat. Any problems? Thats for the next generation!
14:56 October 5, 2010 by veritas_69
Conservatives aren't denying...they are resisting the Islamization of Germany and Europe!! Islam isn't, and should not be, equal to Christianity in Europe.
15:17 October 5, 2010 by auniquecorn
Islam isn't, and should not be, equal to Christianity in Europe. ???

And why not? veritas_69

Muslims don´t have an equal right to believe in their own God?
15:20 October 5, 2010 by freechoice
there is a direct correlations between democracy and freedom and religious beliefs!

16:00 October 5, 2010 by athanasius
Islam isn't, and should not be, equal to Christianity in Europe. ???

And why not? veritas_69

Muslims don´t have an equal right to believe in their own God?


Can Christians get an equal right with Muslims in the Middle Eastor in any Islamic country?
16:21 October 5, 2010 by auniquecorn
Bingo athanasius,

And thats just what the problem is with this world.

Thats why there will always be wars and terror.

It´s all about religion. And Religion is Fu%/ing our world up.
16:42 October 5, 2010 by great_warrior
It is only matter of time when the largest religion in Europe will be Islam. Then Islamists would threaten Non-Muslims to convert to Islam or either execute them.Many Islamic countries are trying to change the demographics of Europe and conquer it by population explosion.Most of the immigrants coming from Islamic countries only take money from state and produce children regularly.They have extremely radical thinking which would threaten the freedom in Europe in the matter of time.Once their population will reach 50% then they will compel for their own laws like Sharia or four woman marrying one guy...
16:48 October 5, 2010 by athanasius
I'm just curious, has there ever been a Christian who after shouting, "Jesus Christ is great!", blew himself up in the middle of a crowded area? Christ's teaching is always againts all forms of violence. In fact He even tells His followers to love their enemies and bless those who persecute them. I think you're wrong here auniquecorn, it has nothing to do with religion and has more to do with hatred and violence of some people.
17:54 October 5, 2010 by livingintomania
Lord's Resistance Army
18:06 October 5, 2010 by michael4096
"It is only matter of time when the largest religion in Europe will be Islam. Then Islamists would threaten Non-Muslims to convert to Islam or either execute them."

Wrong! Europe is becoming secular at a faster rate than islam is spreading. Theists of all flavours asking for 'religious' laws are already a minority and becoming even fewer.

"Most of the immigrants coming from Islamic countries only take money from state..."

Wrong! Most immigrants don't get money from the state but pay taxes into the state.

"Once their population will reach 50% then they will compel for their own laws like Sharia or four woman marrying one guy... "

Wrong! Most muslims in muslim countries are none too keen on sharia and very few have more than one wife. There is no evidence that anything but a tiny minority of muslim immigrant decendents would want either.

Great_warrior should stick to warrioring and not try for a career in crystal ball gazing.

"Christ's teaching is always againts all forms of violence."

Shame christians don't listen. Like the christian politician quoted in the article - love thy neighbour but make sure they understand how inferior they are.

"..it has nothing to do with religion and has more to do with hatred and violence of some people."

A sensible comment. And, at the moment, the hate is coming squarely from the anti-immigrant camps.
18:19 October 5, 2010 by pantheratigris
These damn politicians, willing to say anything for as long as it allows them to keep their chairs. Just take a look at the polls what German citizens think...
19:29 October 5, 2010 by vonSchwerin
"'But now Islam is also part of Germany,' he said in his speech. 'When German Muslims write to me to say "you are our president", I reply with all my heart "yes, of course I am your president".'"

What's so controversial about this? It's simply a statement of facts.

1) Islam is a part of society in Germany. That's just a fact of life in modern Germany.

2) Wulff is the president of all Germans, even if they are Muslim or Jewish. If they are German citizens, he is their president.

He didn't say, "Germany is becoming a Muslim land." He didn't say, "Germany must adopt Islamic principles." He just admitted that Islam is in Germany and that Muslims are a part of German society.

¦quot;'Such remarks can be misunderstood,' she [Bavarian Social Affairs Minister Christine Haderthauer] told the paper. 'Religious freedom must not become religious equality.'"

Yes, that situation has existed in Germany before. Ask the German Jews (who were German citizens) what was the situation before complete emancipation in 1869 or real equality (Gleichberechtigung) in 1919. I'm sure they loved paying taxes, serving in the army, and sharing the national culture but not having true equal rights just because they worshiped differently (and to the same God!).
21:18 October 5, 2010 by Simon_Kellett
13 comments so far and no-one has pointed out the largest and most influential grouping in Germany: atheists !!
01:21 October 6, 2010 by sonriete
The most compelling part is not the remarks by the CDU/CSU politicians, it is the poll numbers.

66% is a lot more than a majority, it is approaching a consensus.

If that is how two thirds of the people feel about the rather tame remarks of the President, we are in for a bumpy ride.

It is hard to see how the centrist parties can to continue ignoring that level of angry public opinion and it not result some serious upheavals.
02:09 October 6, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I can think of no greater moral justification for embarking on a global religious war than the opinion poll numbers of a frothing, uneducated public whose fears and phobias are stoked daily by opportunistic politicians and right wing media.
04:49 October 6, 2010 by 1FCK_1FCK
Indeed. Let's just assume that every Muslim is a fanatical religious warrior intent on destroying western civilization. Then we can go ahead & torture & kill them all, having stripped them of their humanity. They aren't any different from Christians. Most are simply observant of their faith & with a little economic opportunity will work hard & contribute to society.

The problem is a lot of people assume they're lazy because they don't work. But that's exactly backwards. They will work, if only there were enough jobs to go around.

But since govts no longer see ensuring full employment as their chief responsibility, being neo-liberals, we havea huge number of people unemployed (and not just Muslims.) And the more ignorant among us want to blame someone.

Too bad they don't see what's right in front of their eyes -- it's the bought & paid for political representatives & their bankster masters that are responsible for you losing your job, not your Muslim neighbor.
05:36 October 6, 2010 by proclusian
Bavarian CSU has-beens...
05:58 October 6, 2010 by roterkopf23
You are all making this sound like a complicated issue, which it is not. There have always, and I mean always, been horrific wars and extreme brutality brought about by idealogical conflict. It is a human condition. It's where you line up that counts.

This latest, but hardly newest, incarnation of evil visited upon the face of the earth is extreme Islam, the idea that God demands a holy war to be waged against everyone who is not a follower of Mohamed. But make no mistake, it is not about religion, per se, but about power. The leaders of Al Qaida and other Islamic extremists have no personal regard for the Islamic faith other than how it can be used to advance their own agendas to obtain control over lands and people.

This is one of the great struggles of the human race and the outcome is in doubt. Islamic caliphates and Sharia law throughout Europe could possibly end Western Civilization as we now know it and plunge the world into a new version of dark age.

I, for one, hope that does not happen.
13:11 October 6, 2010 by delvek
Well said Roter, however I disagree in that extreme Islam has the capabilities to do what you say. Luckily the Christian God has blessed Christian countries with bigger and better implements of war. If this war should reach epic proportions as history has shown us, retaliation is a bitch and the only folks who will be in the dark ages would be those countries who signed the Al Qaida membership form.
18:00 October 6, 2010 by roterkopf23
I wish it were true, delvek, but radical Islam has already shown that it can influence Christian countries political decisions by removing Spain from the Irag war with horrendous mass transit bombings. Who do we retaliate against? The attacks are being plotted by ragamuffin Islamic sheiks in ethereal mountain caves of Asian border regions and carried out by naturalized citizens of our own countries. And when growing Muslim communities gain political influence in their respective countries who will offend them by attacking fellow Muslims. Or getting their concurrence?

I'm just thinking that the threat of cultural annihilation might be real and doing nothing to head off evil hasn't worked all that well for Europe in the past..
19:07 October 6, 2010 by delvek
Roter, I just about completely agree with your points. Europe lost its will and confidence many decades ago and its gone.

My personal belief is that the war with Radical Islam will continue to wear down mankind and more and more people will take sides, as it does this it will go from Radical to mainstream'ish, this will take time but inevitable if the world economy continues to suck and the war doesn't end (which it wont). This will force after much more loss America to grab its nuts and get hardcore. This will most likely happen in conjunction with America securing its border with Mexico. Lots got to happen to get there but I believe it will.

If it doesn't an America joins Europe and losses its will and confidence then you are correct, women will be stoned again and men will be ruled over by an oppressive government. Nothing like starting over in the history books.
00:07 October 7, 2010 by roterkopf23
Amen, delvek.
06:04 October 7, 2010 by JohnPaul44

I agree that we in the Western World may eventually be forced to defend ourselves, perhaps even by killing millions of Muslims, but please do not try to justify this by dragging a rather peculiar concept of God into it!

Libraries are filled with accounts of the horrible atrocities committed by Christians in the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the witch hunts during the centuries of Christian rule in Europe. Historians have called Christianity the most murderous and bloodthirsty institution ever devised by man!

If God listened to the prayers of the vultures, all the people would be dead!
10:53 October 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
What does God have to do with any of this, or with any religion, for that matter?
11:00 October 7, 2010 by michael4096
About the same amount as muslim immigrants have to do with terrorism - occasional overlap, nothing more
12:00 October 7, 2010 by delvek
@ JohnPaul,

I understand your point. I will start out by saying that I am a Christian. I believe what the Bible says. I say prayers and grace everyday. I have HOWEVER havent stepped foot in a church in years unless I was visited one for tourist reasons.

Reason being, I think the Church like many times throughout history has lost its way. I believe religion is a personal thing first, after you come to terms with your own religion/salvation whatever it may be, you seek out others that share in the same belief because as humans we like to be around people who are like us. The church has disappointed me for years but I will never let that get in the way of my own personal beliefs which are very important to me.

Didnt mean to get all religiony on you but you mentioned that I not bring God into and I dont see where I had but since you brought it up I thought I would mention my own personal stance on the issue.

@ Micheal, you are correct for now, but I believe the economy has yet to shake the globe and as time goes by they will, just as it will for both sides. Its in the history books, just different names and places but repeating it does.
14:59 October 7, 2010 by roterkopf23
The concept of God is fine when used with religion in order to provide a moral compass. However, it must be fairly simple to hijack a religion for political purposes since it's been done so many times in the past.
17:00 October 7, 2010 by dankworth
Well I've heard islamic terrorism called a lot of things but never "occasional overlap". As in "Don't worry honey, those suitcase bombs at the train station today are occasional overlap, nothing more."
17:29 October 7, 2010 by HollyMacarony
Just read all the comments lol

This people are talking about ''Holly War'' of epic proportions and killing millions of Muslims as they said... yet the muslims are the one who are supposedly a threat.

I really fear for Muslim minorities in Europe... think they will have a much worse destiny than Jews did in 1940's

To many paranoid and hateful people roaming around...
18:56 October 7, 2010 by michael4096
No, Holly

not really so many hateful people - though the few that exist are very vocal

a bigger threat are those on both sides deliberately stoking the fires because they gain from the conflict - they target people reluctant think for themselves, and there are oodles of them
19:27 October 7, 2010 by Dave N
I'm dreading the future Holly War and also the Mistletoe War that will no doubt follow as the Muslims inevitably try to ban the celebration of Christmas.

On a more serious note - it is because the Muslims are such a threat to civilisation that they will ultimately be destroyed - just as the 3rd Reich and Imperial Japan were. One only needs to read the Koran to see what a hateful, violent, parasitical, supremacist and intolerant philosphy we are faced with.

If they were not invading and colonising the West, blowing up packed trains and buses and jeering at returning troops, people would not be so "paranoid and hateful."

Every country in Western Europe is in need of a Geert Wilders. Some of us have had quite enough of Islam's never ending expansion.
21:15 October 7, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, what I find most disturbing, is how leaders such as

Wulff fail to realize that their actions are creating serious problems for many people.

Aren't leaders suppose to be the most intelligent people in society? If the leaders of a nation lack adequate intelligence, then isn't the nation as a whole screwed-up?

At times humanity seems hopeless. Yet we must all do our very best.
22:44 October 7, 2010 by delvek
@ HolyMacaroni,

You are so correct, it is still years off because I believe the world economy will get much worse which will aid in the misdirected paranoia and fear.

Ultimately you are right, the fate of Muslims outside Islam countries will be dicey at best. It wouldn't be far fetch to conceive the worst.

Big difference though, Islamists are almost asking for, they agitate instead of assimilate while practicing their faith. They expect others to change for them, right now the world is still a tolerant place but that has been changing.

Listen up, same story, just different names and places, history repeats.
22:50 October 7, 2010 by HollyMacarony
@ Dave N

''If they were not invading and colonising the West''

What are you talking about, US is invading Muslim countries! If you mean immigration, that is not ''invasion'' just people looking for better life.

''it is because the Muslims are such a threat to civilisation that they will ultimately be destroyed - just as the 3rd Reich and Imperial Japan were''

Th people you call ''Muslims'' are not one block of people. You need to be more specific. And the only thing that can compared with ''3rd Reich and Imperial Japan'' is the USA, and soon it seems China is joining the imperial scene. If i were you i would worry about relationship between China and US in the next few decades.
23:05 October 7, 2010 by wohliver
Wulff said, Christianity and Judaism belong to Germany. He called it Judaeo-Christian tradition. Then he emphasized, that Islam ALSO belongs to Germany, implicating that it is, or, will become part of German tradition. In my opinion this was an unecessary thing to say and it was the wrong time and place to say something like this. It was the 20th anniversary of the Day of Unification. His speech should have been dripping with praise for Eastern Germans and all others involved in this outstanding moment of world history. Why he brings religion and the hot topic of immigration into this, only he himself knows.

Germany, being the socialistic country it is, already makes enough concessions toward immigrants. They readily gain access to the social system and social healthcare, without ever having paid a cent. This is taxpayers money, not Wulff-money. Yet, people like Wulff act as if Germans were not already doing enough, so new concessions must be made. I think, this is what angers the German public-- It always sounds like a one-way street.

No offense, the majority of Turks/Muslims are good people. But, what in all the world does Wulff see in Turkish tradition or in Islamic tradition that makes it so important to incorporate it into Germany's own tradition and make Germany a country of Judaeo-Christian-Islamic tradition? (Most likely he will have a cheezy answer for that, too.) Diversity or respect/appreciation for the other are one thing, giving up an identity another.
23:27 October 7, 2010 by JohnPaul44

I apologize! It was your comment "Luckily, the Christian God has blessed Christian countries with bigger and better implements of war" that led me to believe you might be a Christian Crusader. I am suspicious of any God who "blesses" a country in that way. Otherwise, I agree with most of what you say.
08:09 October 8, 2010 by delvek
@ Simon,

Atheist, really? Atheist are enjoying their biggest media spotlight over the last decade and it has resulted in nada because its overhyped.

Germany is a less religous society but even with that the numbers from Eurobaromter poll 2005:

47% Believe there is a God

25% Beleive there is a Spirit or LifeForce

25% Believe there is no God, Spirit or Lifeforce

3% Dont know

Not sure where you get the majority. Also, I am willing to bet of those 25% that believe we came from mud, if really pushed the number would be lower.

@ JP, I see now, yea I can see where you get that, I was being partly sarcastic the other part would be too difficult to explain in this format.
03:38 October 13, 2010 by wenddiver
@Delvek- Don't worry, I was in the Army, in the end end everybody asks for their God and their Mother. When that day comes so will the Atheists. Thats when we will see who believes in what, until that time it is all BS talk.

@Holly- In the end the world will judge them by their ideology, how did they interact with the rest of the human race, terror and murder??? Well they have written their answer then.
19:11 October 15, 2010 by smoody11
It's never an argument over religion. I believe it's all cultural .I like being a white European. I like my culture and part of the Christian culture is to love your neighbor as yourself. But we hardly ever do. I don't want to be brought down to the 6th century by a culture who hasn't evolved. Frankly, Muslims should stay in their own countries if they don't like Europeans.We have been up here since pre-historic times dealing with the cold and such. We made it comfortable for all the peoples who stayed in warm places and suddenly want our stuff thanks to airplanes. I know this sounds like a racist rant..and it is.
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