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Germans don't want race row banker fired - poll
September 1, 2010 / 5:39 PM / 7 years ago

Germans don't want race row banker fired - poll

* Finance Minister says Sarrazin fails to meet obligations

* Germans blame immigrants for failing to integrate - poll

By Dave Graham

BERLIN, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A majority of Germans do not believe the Bundesbank should sack a member of its board who has divided the nation with disparaging comments about Muslim immigrants, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Over the past week and a half, the central bank’s Thilo Sarrazin has dominated headlines with criticism of Germany’s large Muslim community, and contentious remarks asserting that Jews have a particular genetic makeup.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and a host of leading politicians have rebuked the 65-year-old Sarrazin, who has said immigrants of Turkish and Arab origin refuse to integrate, sponge off the state and make the country less intelligent on average.

Germany’s Central Council of Jews and others have urged the Bundesbank to dismiss Sarrazin, but the bank said on Wednesday it had put off a decision over his fate until at least Thursday.

A survey by pollster Emnid for N24 television showed 51 percent of respondents saw no need for the bank to fire Sarrazin, with 32 percent taking the opposite view.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble added to pressure on the bank to act, saying Sarrazin had failed in his duties.

“He has quite obviously failed to meet his obligations: restraint,” Schaeuble said. “This kind of breaking taboos does not bring our country forwards, it only does the opposite.”

The television poll of around 1,000 people showed more disagreeing with than backing the views of the banker, who has set out his musings on immigrants in a new book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” (Germany does away with itself).

Some 35 percent of respondents said they “rather rejected” his theories, which have been applauded by far-right parties at home and abroad, with only 30 percent taking the opposite view.

Still, 56 percent of those polled said migrants were to blame for their integration problems, while only 11 percent held the opinion that Germans were responsible for the difficulties.

In his book, Sarrazin writes: “I don’t want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to live in a mostly Muslim country where Turkish and Arabic are widely spoken, women wear headscarves and the day’s rhythm is determined by the call of the muezzin.”

On Tuesday he was forced to cancel the first reading of his book, which appears set to become a bestseller, due to security fears after anti-fascist groups said they planned a protest.

Sarrazin rejects accusations of stirring up divisions in Germany, where at least four million Muslims live. Most are of Turkish background, with an estimated 280,000 of Arab origin.

Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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