Islam is part of Germany, says Chancellor
The German government is doing everything it can to make integration succeed, said Chancellor Angela Merkel following a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in Berlin. "Our former Federal President Christian Wulff said that Islam is part of Germany, and I believe this too". Irrespective of their faith, everybody who respects the law, lives here and learns the language is welcome, she said.
Stepping up inter-religious dialogue
"I am the Chancellor of all Germans. And that includes everybody who lives here permanently or for a longer period, whatever their background and wherever they originally come from," added Angela Merkel. But there is also a need to improve inter-religious dialogue. "We know too little about one another."
She expressed her gratitude that Muslims themselves have drawn a clear line and roundly rejected violence.
Demonstration for tolerance and openness
Angela Merkel pointed to the protest vigil at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin planned by Muslim groups for Tuesday in support of tolerance and religious freedom. The Chancellor and many of her Cabinet ministers will be taking part. "This will be a very strong signal tomorrow," said the Chancellor.
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany and the Turkish community in Germany, among others, have called for a protest vigil to be held on Tuesday evening at the Brandenburg Gate in support of an "open and tolerant Germany and freedom of expression and religion". Along with numerous Cabinet ministers the Chancellor is to attend. Federal Economics Affairs Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Federal Family Affairs Minister Manuela Schwesig are some of those who have announced that they will attend the vigil. Leading figures from the opposition parties are also expected. Federal President Joachim Gauck will speak at the vigil.