BERLIN — A senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party has been rebuked by his own political allies for suggesting that Germany might introduce public holidays to celebrate the Islamic religion.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a party rally in northern Germany this week that he was willing to discuss Islamic holidays in areas with large Muslim populations.
There are an estimated 4.7 million Muslims in Germany, mostly immigrants from Turkey.
Alexander Dobrindt, who also belongs to Merkel’s conservative Union bloc, told the daily Bild on Saturday that he was against Islamic holidays: “Our Christian heritage isn’t up for negotiation.”
Merkel’s centre-right Christian Democrats and their Bavaria-only sister party have been losing voters to the nationalist Alternative for Germany, which campaigns against Islam and large-scale Muslim immigration.