Angela Merkel Says Islam Belongs To Germany, Contradicts Her Own Interior Minister

German Reichstag (by Jürgen Matern, via Wikimedia Commons)

In an interview with the tabloid newspaper Bild Zeitung, Germany's new interior minister Horst Seehofer said that "Islam  does not belong to Germany". 

Asked whether Islam belongs to Germany, Seehofer replied: "No. Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany has been shaped by Christianity."

On Friday Angela Merkel made clear that she disagrees with her own minister. The Chancellor's press secretary Steffen Seibert stated that Germany "obviously has a Christian and Jewish" identity, but added that nowadays "millions of Muslims live in Germany."

"On the basis of our values and legal order their religion belongs to Germany, as well," Seibert said. 

Article 3 of the German Constitution stipulates that "no one shall be discriminated against or favoured because of their gender, descent, race, language, homeland or origin, creed, religious or political beliefs."

Horst Seehofer, the leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister-party of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, is an immigration hardliner. His comments are seen as an attempt to win back votes from the far-right party AfD.