Banker under fire over race remarks

Germany's central bank agrees to remove Thilo Sarrazin, who has repeatedly criticised Muslim immigrants in Europe.

     Thilo Sarrazin has repeatedly criticised Muslim immigrants in Germany [AFP]

    Germany's central bank has voted to remove a board member after he sparked outrage by criticising Muslim immigrants and Jews.

    The Bundesbank said on Thursday that members of its six-member board had "unanimously agreed" to ask the German president to remove Thilo Sarrazin from his post.

    Sarrazin said in a book published earlier this week, called Germany Is Destroying Itself, that Muslim immigrants in Europe were unwilling or incapable of integrating into Western societies.

    In an interview ahead of the book's release he also said that "all Jews share a particular gene".

    'Out of context'

    The book's publication led to calls for Sarrazin to be sacked, with several members of government, including Angela Merkel, the chancellor, indicating they would like the banker to go.

    Jean-Claude Trichet , president of the European Central Bank, also said he was "appalled by the remarks".

    The 65-year-old former Berlin state finance minister previously said that people were underestimating the effects of demographic changes, and that many of Germany's integration problems could be attributed to immigrants from Muslim countries.

    He also caused controversy last year when he told a magazine: "I do not need to accept anyone who lives on handouts from a state that it rejects, is not adequately concerned about the education of their children and constantly produces new, little headscarf-clad girls."

    The comments led Axel Weber, the president of the Bundesbank, to seek Sarrazin's removal at the time.

    However the board member apologised for the remarks and had his duties at the bank cut back.

    Sarrazin has insisted that his comments have been taken out of context and that his book, released on Monday, consists largely of what he called "well-documented analysis" that must be read before it could be criticised.

    According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, Thursday's decision to remove Sarrazin is the first of its kind in the bank's 50-year history.

    Sarrazin is also facing expulsion from the centre-left Social Democrats, who have started proceedings to remove him from their ranks.

    Sigmar Gabriel, the party leader, described Sarrazin's comments as "linguistically violent". 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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