Excerpt:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has attended an iftar for the first time as the German head of government, repeating once again that Islam "is a part of Germany."

"It is obvious that Islam is a part of Germany," Merkel said in her speech at the iftar held at Villa Borsig, the official guest house of the German Foreign Ministry, in Berlin on Tuesday. Calling for more inter-religious trust and respect for Islam in Germany and across Europe, Merkel described Ramadan -- the holy month of Islam when Muslims fast during daylight hours -- as a time when Muslims reflect and examine their lives. Recalling the increase in the number of violent acts perpetrated in the name of different religions in recent years, Merkel said that "it is unfortunate that most of these acts are attributed to Islam."


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