Deutsche Welle | 28.08.2010
Chairman of Germany’s Turkish Federation, Kenan Kolat, called for central bank board member Thilo Sarrazin to be removed from his post after fresh comments criticizing Muslims in Germany. "I am calling upon the government to begin a procedure to remove Thilo Sarrazin from the board of the central bank," Kolat told the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau on Saturday, August 28. In his book "Deutschland schafft sich ab" ("Germany does away with itself"), Sarrazin claims that members of Germany’s Muslim community pose a danger to German society. Sarrazin, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Berlin’s former finance chief, was reported in June as saying that members of the Turkish and Arab community were making Germany "more stupid." With his book, Kolat said, Sarrazin had overstepped a boundary. "It is the climax of a new intellectual racism and it damages Germany’s reputation abroad," Kolat said.
In a serialization of the forthcoming book in the German popular daily newspaper Bild, Sarrazin said that Germany’s Muslim community had profited from social welfare payments far more than they contributed, and that higher birth-rates among immigrants could lead to the Muslim population overtaking the "indigenous" one in terms of numbers. Merkel’s chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that many people would find the remarks "offensive" and "defamatory," adding that the chancellor was concerned. Members of the SPD have distanced themselves from Sarrazin’s comments, while Germany’s Green and Left parties have called for his removal from the central bank’s board. A Bundesbank spokesman said that Sarrazin’s latest remarks were personal opinions, unconnected with his role on the board.
Maria Boehmer, the government’s commissioner for integration, accused Sarrazin of giving "a distorted image of integration in Germany" that did not bear up to academic scrutiny. "In his comments he states only half truths," she told Bild am Sonntag. "It is indisputable that, in education, there are currently a lot of immigrants with a lot of catching up to do. It does not take Sarrazin’s comments to establish that." In a lengthy interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Sarrazin defended himself against the charge he was encouraging racism. "I am not a racist," he told the newspaper. "The book addresses cultural divisions, not ethnic ones." Last year, Sarrazin caused a storm by claiming that most of Berlin’s Arab and Turkish immigrants had no useful function "apart from fruit and vegetable trading." As a result, the central bank stripped Sarrazin of some of his duties.