Volker Kauder, a close ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, said Islam had not influenced Germany historically or culturally. But he warned against excluding Muslims from German society as desired by some populists.

Kauder told the "Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung" in an interview published on Thursday that he considered a statement by former German President Christian Wulff saying that Islam was part of Germany to have been "well-meant," but imprecise.

"But just so there is no misunderstanding: The Muslims themselves are a part of Germany, no question about it," he said.

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