Excerpt:

What does it mean to be German? A minister close to Chancellor Angela Merkel has kicked off a divisive election-year debate about cultural identity -- earning him praise, ridicule and charges of immigrant-bashing.

Some say it's high time to define shared values as Germany seeks to integrate more than a million mostly Muslim asylum seekers who arrived since 2015 under Merkel's open-door policy.

Others have slammed the initiative as a grab for right-wing voters who threaten to drift off to the nationalist, anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in September elections.

The eye-catching opening salvo was fired by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere in the top-selling tabloid Bild on Sunday.


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