BERLIN — German top government officials and immigrant leaders on Sunday condemned remarks by a board member of Germany's federal bank as racist and anti-Semitic.
Thilo Sarrazin of the German Bundesbank came under fire for telling the weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag that "all Jews share the same gene." He also said Muslim immigrants across Europe were not willing or capable of integrating into western societies.
Several lawmakers demanded that Sarrazin, 65, step down from his post as board member at Germany's federal bank and resign his party membership of the left-leaning Social Democrats — demands that Sarrazin rejected.
Leaders of Germany's Jewish and Muslim communities also condemned the banker's remarks.
Stephan Kramer of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told German news agency DAPD: "Whoever tries to identify Jews by their genetic makeup succumbs to racism."
Last year, Sarrazin, who previously served as finance minister for Berlin, told a magazine that "I do not need to accept anyone who lives on handouts from a state that it rejects, is not adequately concerned about the education of their children and constantly produces new, little headscarf-clad girls."