Merkel Denounces Anti-Muslim Prejudice in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel decried prejudice against Muslims in Germany while pledging to combat militant Islam with the full force of the law after attacks in Paris reignited debate about Islamist terrorism in Europe.

In a speech to lower-house lawmakers in Berlin today, Merkel said she wouldn’t allow the attacks to be used to fuel anti-Muslim sentiment. The vast majority of Germany’s 4 million Muslims “are upstanding, law-abiding citizens,” she said.

“We won’t allow ourselves to be divided by those who use the terrorist attacks to place Muslims under blanket suspicion,” Merkel said. “Every marginalization of Muslims in Germany, every blanket judgment, is unacceptable.”

Four days after an anti-Islam rally in the eastern city of Dresden drew 25,000 protesters, Merkel reprised her warning that the killings at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in Paris risk inflaming divisions along religious lines in Germany.

The chancellor for the second time this week quoted former German President Christian Wulff’s statement that “Islam is part of Germany.”

At the same time, she cited the insecurity many Germans have with the notion and said Islamic law has no place under the German constitution.

Many ask “justifiable questions” about the use of violence in the name of Islam, Merkel said. “I think the clarification of this question in spiritual Islam is important and I think it’s urgent.”

Merkel’s government plans to pass laws that limit travel by extremists to war zones, fight propaganda among Muslim youths and share more information with other states on potential terror enlistees.

“We will fight Islamist violence with every resource of the state,” Merkel said.

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