The debate over surging Islamization in Germany has created a serious rift within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian-Conservative alliance. Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), launched scathing attack on the growing influence of Islam in German society

Islam “doesn’t culturally shape our country” and “it should not” be culturally influential in Germany, Alexander Dobrindt, the head of the CSU parliamentary party, said in a newspaper interview. In a rare display of backbone by a leading German politician, Dobrindt asserted the superiority of West’s “Judeo-Christian heritage,” saying “[N]o Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries.”

Last month, the newly appointed Interior Minister and the CSU party chief, Horst Seehofer, kicked the hornet’s nest by suggesting that the Islamic values had no place in Germany. “No. Islam does not belong to Germany,” Seehofer told the German newspaper Bild, adding that “Germany has been shaped by Christianity” and “false consideration for others clearly does not mean we give up our country-specific traditions and customs.”

Deviating from Chancellor Merkel’s open borders policy for migrants, CSU parliamentary leader Dobrindt called for the repatriation of migrants who had entered the country recently. “Refugees should return to their home countries whenever this is possible,” Dobrindt said. “Family reunifications can also take place in pacified home regions and not only in Germany.”

As part of the coalition deal with the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SPD), Merkel agreed to allow refugees to bring their families over to Germany as part of a massive ‘family reunification’ program. The majority of the migrants that arrived in Germany in wake of the refugee crisis that began in the autumn of 2005 are young men from Arab and Muslim country.

German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported CSU politician’s latest statement:

CSU caucus leader [in the Bundestag] Alexander Dobrindt has adopted a more aggressive ton with regard to the status of Islam in Germany. Islam didn’t “culturally shape Germany”and shouldn’t do so either,” Dobrindt told the newspapers belonging to the Funke media group. “Islam has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

Moral concepts such as tolerance, altruism and liberty “are not found in the Islamic world,” Dobrindt claimed. These are “reasons why so many people want to live with us.” He also pointed out the fact that Islam lacks–what enlightenment had been to Christianity–with its positive impact on faith, law and social coexistence. “No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries,” Dobrindt said. [Translation by the author]

The issue of Islam ‘culturally shaping Germany’ is not merely a rhetorical one, but could significantly impact German society in the short run.

If Islam positions itself as an established religion, at par with the Lutheran Evangelical and the Catholic Church, this could open state coffers to mosques, lead to the introduction of Islamic holidays, and the appointment of mosque functionaries on controlling boards of the public broadcasters that dominate German media landscape with their multi-billion budgets.

Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Germany’s equivalent of CAIR, has already been making similar demands and some members in Merkel’s cabinet and inner circle have been sympathetic to their grievances.

Last year, Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière suggested the introduction of Muslim holidays in the country. “I am ready to discuss whether we can introduce a Muslim holiday,” De Maizière, a senior member in Merkel’s last cabinet said at a CDU Party event. The move will effectively force state government and municipal offices, schools, shops and non-Muslim businesses to mark of Islamic religious holidays.

Aydan Özoğuz, the Turkish-origin Minister of State for Immigration during Merkel’s last tenure, went so far as to propose voting rights for the migrants in order to allow them to “participate in democratic decision making.”

So far, only the newcomer Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the grassroots Pegida movement have challenged the cultural agenda pursued by Merkel and her cabinet allies.

CSU’s new-found love for traditional Christian values might have some earthly motives. Since September parliamentary elections, opinion polls show the AfD steadily gaining popularity among the voters. Merkel’s decision to form a ‘grand coalition’ with the socialist SPD has elevated the AfD to the main opposition party in the German Bundestag. As CSU prepares for the Bavarian election, scheduled for October this year, Merkel and her migrant policy is becoming more of a liability in the Catholic-majority state.

Regardless of the political motives, watching the CSU break away from the liberal consensus dominating the Berlin politics is a welcome sign. The move positions the Bavarian party closer to the AfD and threatens Merkel’s hold on the power given to her wafer-thin majority in the parliament.

Video: Thousands in ‘anti-Islam’ protest in German city of Dresden (March 2018)

[Cover image via YouTube]