Merkel cancels Tunisia trip, media cites anti-Islam film worries

BERLIN Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:34pm EDT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, September 26, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, September 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cancelled a visit to Tunisia in early October, an aide said on Wednesday, with a German paper citing safety concerns over unrest in the region in protest against a U.S.-made anti-Islam video.

Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the visit was called off "by mutual agreement with the government of Tunisia". He declined to give a reason but the Financial Times Deutschland mentioned security worries in a preview of its Thursday edition.

The chancellor took a conciliatory tone with Germany's large Muslim community during a call-in event with her party followers late on Wednesday. With more than 3 million Muslims living in Germany, Islam had become "a part of us", she said.

"The majority of Muslims in Germany have clearly distanced themselves from such actions," Merkel said of violent protests this month against the film "The Innocence of Muslims", during which Germany's embassy in Sudan was stormed.

The German government has criticized the film as a crude attack on Islam, with Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle calling it an "anti-Islamic hate video". German authorities say they will consider banning any attempt to screen it.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Stephen Brown; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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