"Islam is also part of Germany," the country's president, Christian Wulff, told the nation in an Oct. 3 address on the 20th anniversary of German reunification.
Before becoming president in July 2010, Wulff served as minister president of Lower Saxony, where he appointed the country's first Muslim state cabinet minister.
Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed Wulff's words, but also demanded that Muslims living in Germany conform to "fundamental German values," adding there could be no leeway on the issue.
Two-thirds of Germans belong to Christian churches and 3.7 percent are Muslim, mostly immigrants.
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