German bank votes to expel Sarrazin after racist words

Banker said that immigrants in Europe incapable of integrating and cites studies that 'all Jews share a certain gene.'

September 2, 2010 16:47
1 minute read.
Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin

311_Thilo Sarrazin. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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The German central bank voted unanimously in favor of dismissing board member Thilo Sarrazin on Thursday, following racist comments stereotyping Muslims and Jews.

Sarrazin was expected to appeal the bank's decision.

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Comment: Why are Germans upset over critic of Islam?
Germany's central bank rejects racist comments

Sarrazin maintains Muslim immigrants in Europe are unwilling or incapable of integrating into western societies and has cited studies he says prove that "all Jews share a certain gene." The issues are the basis of his book on immigration issues that caused an uproar even before its Monday release.

Sarrazin's comments sparked outrage from lawmakers and community leaders, and many agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying he should be removed from the bank's board.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Wednesday told journalists Sarrazin's remarks were "irresponsible nonsense" that violated his duty to show political restraint as a Bundesbank board member.

Sarrazin insists his comments were taken out of context and his remarks are covered by freedom of speech.

Although Merkel's government condemned his comments, it cannot force his departure due to the Bundesbank's independence. To remove him from its six-member board, the Bundesbank would have to ask German President Christian Wulff to order it.

This is not the first time Sarrazin has provoked controversy. He was forced to resign part of his duties at the central bank last year, following remarks about Berlin's Arab and Turkish populations. In his new book, the 65-year-old maintains that immigrants have taken from Germany's welfare system without contributing enough to the country.

Sarrazin's party, Germany's left-leaning Social Democrats, launched proceedings Monday that could force him from the party.

Lamakers from the far-right NPD party in Saxony's state parliament, meanwhile, held a banner saying "Everybody knows it: Sarrazin is right" during a visit by the German president to the legislature on Wednesday.

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