(Supporters of ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim group hand out German-language versions of the Koran at the Potsdamer Platz square in downtown Berlin, April 14, 2012. The headline "Lies!" on the poster is German for "Read!" REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz )

A leading conservative politician said on Thursday that Islam did not belong in Germany, fuelling tension at a conference on integrating Muslims that also debated a controversial Salafist campaign to hand out copies of the Koran across the country.

“Islam is not part of our tradition and identity in Germany and so does not belong in Germany,” Volker Kauder, head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in parliament, told the Passauer Neue Presse.

“But Muslims do belong in Germany. As state citizens, of course, they enjoy their full rights,” he added.

His remarks added to a highly charged nationwide debate about a campaign by an ultra-conservative Salafist Muslim group to hand out millions of free German translations of the Koran to non-Muslims.