German president welcomes Islam in 20th anniversary Unity Day speech
(Photo: An imam leads prayers at a mosque in Dortmund on German Unity Day, October 3, 2010./Ina Fassbender)
German President Christian Wulff said Sunday that Islam had a place in Germany, during a speech celebrating two decades of the country’s reunification.
The president, who holds a largely ceremonial position but is considered a moral authority for the nation, used the televised ceremony to wade into a debate over immigrant integration that has captivated public attention for weeks.
“First and foremost, we need adopt a clear stance: an understanding that for Germany, belonging is not restricted to a passport, a family history, or a religion,” he told an audience in the northern city of Bremen. “Christianity doubtless belongs in Germany. Judaism belongs doubtless in Germany. That is our Judeo-Christian history. But by now, Islam also belongs in Germany.”
Wulff’s speech was part of nationwide festivities marking reunification in 1990, after Germany spent a half-century divided into two countries following defeat in World War Two.