Germany's new interior minister, Horst Seehofer, in his first interview since being sworn in on March 14, has said that "Islam does not belong to Germany." He has also vowed to pursue hardline immigration policies, including the implementation of a "master plan" for speedier deportations.
Seehofer's remarks prompted an immediate firestorm of criticism from the self-appointed guardians of German multiculturalism, including from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has repeatedly insisted that "Islam belongs to Germany."
The backlash will raise questions about how much Seehofer — a former minister-president of Bavaria and a vocal critic of Merkel's open-door migration policies — will be able to accomplish during his tenure.
In a March 16 interview with Bild, Germany's largest daily newspaper, Seehofer was asked if Islam belongs to Germany.