German politician blames Islam for religious violence

A top German politician and close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel said today Islam was one of the main factors in religiously motivated violence, and urged Germany’s Muslims to reject all forms of brutality. Ronald Pofalla, general-secretary of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), also said many Muslims would find it painful that their religion was being abused for violent ends.

“Certainly it is painful for many Muslims that their religion is misused for violence,” Pofalla wrote in a guest column for tomorrow’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. “But… the problem of religiously motivated violence is today almost exclusively a problem of Islam. In addition, many of the victims are Muslims themselves,” he said, according to extracts released today.

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany criticised Pofalla’s comments, saying such generalisations reinforced stereotypes and prejudices. “I get the impression that some CDU people want to take one step forward and two back,” its general-secretary said.

Reuters, 1 October 2006