BERLIN – The Islamic faith is not the cause of terrorism, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday, and urged members of the Muslim clergy to fight back against a “false” interpretation of the religion which leads some to unjustifiably perpetrate acts of violence in its name.
“I think, those countries, first and foremost have to give a contribution. Because only in this way we would be able to convince people that it is not Islam that is the source of terrorism. But a falsely understood Islam,” she said in a key speech delivered at the security conference in Munich with Russia and US Vice president Mike Pence in attendance, Aljazeera reported on Saturday, February 18.
Merkel, who has been critical of US President Donald Trump’s attempt to impose a temporary travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries, also told the conference that this is the only way to persuade non-Muslims that the religion is one of peace.
“I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delimitate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed in the name of Islam. We as non-Muslims cannot do this, it should be done by Islamic clergy and authorities,” she added.
She also defended her decision in September 2015 to let in tens of thousands fleeing war from mostly Arab and Muslim nations.
“When we look at the images of bombed out Aleppo in Syria, we have to say once again how important and right it was for us to have helped those who needed our protection to find their way here and to integrate,” she said.
Merkel said it was through such values of humanity and openness that Germany should face down those who espouse hate.
“As we go on with our lives and work, we tell the terrorists: You are murderers full of hate, but you will not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, compassionate and open,” she said.
As Trump stressed his criticism of NATO as “obsolete” and praise for Britain’s decision to leave the EU, Merkel stressed the need to preserve and strengthen multilateral structures such as the EU, NATO and the UN.
“Acting together strengthens everyone,” said Merkel.
“We must see that the multilateral structures are in many places not efficient enough.
“I am firmly convinced that it is worth fighting for our common international multilateral structures, but we must improve them in many places.”