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Muslim leader calls for limit on refugee numbers

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Muslim leader calls for limit on refugee numbers
A temporary refugee home in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA
12:32 CET+01:00
The head of Germany's largest Muslim organization has called for a limit on the number of refugees Germany takes in, saying the country can give little more.

“Morally speaking there can't be an upper limit to how many refugees we take in because of what our constitution says and due to our historical responsibility."

"But when we talk about our practical ability it's a different question,” Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

“This upper limit would seem to be at the point of being reached,” he added.

Muslims have a particular responsibility when it come to helping in the refugee crisis, Mazyek said, pointing out that Muslim have already provided a lot of help.

“But they could achieve even more if the government and society would support us more and trust our integration methods more,” he added.

Only recently the ZMD had rejected calls for an upper limit on refugee numbers.

The number of Muslims in Germany has increased by around 25 percent in a matter of months as thousands of refugees from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan have arrived in the country on a daily basis since the summer.

The right-wing Alternative for Germany Party saw the statement as an acceptance by Germany's umbrella Muslim organization of their policy, tweeting that “The ZMD goes public with the AfD's demand. Asylum needs boundaries!”

But other Twitter commenters saw the decision as being driven by self-protection, with Maschinist Njall tweeting “of course they've done this. They are worried about losing their influence.”

Numbers of refugees arriving in the country have however fallen off sharply in recent days, as bad weather and border controls on the Balkan route to Germany have cut the number of daily arrivals by half in comparison with early November.

The Central Council of Jews also recently called for an upper limit to be set on the amount of refugees Germany takes in. It likewise came in for criticism due to the historic plight of Jews fleeing from persecution in Germany.

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