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Anti-Islam protests

There is no place in Germany for xenophobia says the Chancellor

Chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the demonstrations organised by the anti-Islamic movement PEGIDA (German acronym for ‘patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the western world). "There is no place here for stirring up hatred and telling lies about people who have come to us from other countries," she said in Berlin.

People must be careful, and not let themselves be used by the initiators of movements like PEGIDA for their own ends, said Chancellor Angela Merkel during the visit of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov to the Federal Chancellery.

The German government is working with the federal states and local authorities to resolve the problems engendered by the rising number of asylum seekers. "The agreements we have reached with the federal states over the last few weeks have clearly demonstrated this, and the people of Germany can rely on it," said Angela Merkel.

Immigration is an important issue

Federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert had earlier stressed that the whole issue of refugees and rising numbers of asylum seekers must be discussed "seriously and without making sweeping generalisations". We must focus on the opportunities that immigration brings Germany.

At the same time we must speak openly about the challenges that many local authorities are facing. "This is a matter that is of great concern to the German government and the country’s political bodies," said Steffen Seibert.

Accepting the concerns of the people

Many people are moved by the issue of immigration, continued the government spokesperson. A large number of people have become involved in helping refugees. "It is very encouraging to see that many people are volunteering, giving freely of their time, to help our country offer migrants and refugees humane and decent conditions."

Parallel to this, other concerned citizens are asking whether or not we can cope with the challenges, and if so how, said the spokesperson. The German government must keep them informed and keep communication channels open. "In Germany there is no place for stirring up hatred against believers, for propaganda against religions of any sort, no place for right-wing extremism, and no place for xenophobia. The entire German government is united in its condemnation of any such thing."

Integration policy – a central concern of the Chancellor

Steffen Seibert stressed that integration policy has been a central concern of the Chancellor for many years. From the outset it has been important to her to spotlight the issue. The German government has also laid this out in the coalition agreement. "We are bound by these undertakings and commitments and intend to honour them," he underscored.

PEGIDA (patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the western world) is a movement that speaks out against Islam. Since autumn 2014 it has been organising demonstrations in Dresden and other German cities to draw attention to what it sees as the country’s failed immigration and asylum policy.

Dec 15, 2014