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Merkel’s Vice Chancellor Calls For Closing Mosques

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel thinks the country needs to adopt a tougher approach to Islamism by banning Salafist mosques and expelling extremist preachers.

The Salafist movement in Germany nearly doubled from 3,800 members in 2011 to 7,500 in 2015, according to government estimates. After a series of terror attacks in 2016, Gabriel says he has “zero tolerance” for Islamism.

“Salafist mosques must be banned, communities dissolved, and the preachers should be expelled as soon as possible,” Gabriel, who is the leader of the Social Democrats, said in a Friday interview with magazine Der Spiegel. “Those who encourage for violence do not enjoy the protection of religious freedom.” (RELATED: Berliners Come To Terms With terrorism Being The New Normal)

Gabriel said a “cultural fight” is needed to make sure entire communities don’t become “degenerate.”

“If we are serious about the fight against Islamism and terrorism, then it must also be a cultural fight,” Gabriel said.

Terrorism is the biggest challenge Germany faces during 2017, said Chancellor Angela Merkel in her New Year’s address. Merkel used her speech to condemn the terror attacks that took place in Germany in the year 2016, especially the ones carried out by refugees. (RELATED: Merkel On Refugee Terror Attacks: It’s ‘Bitter And Sickening’)

“It is particularly bitter and sickening when terror attacks are committed by people who claim to seek protection in our country,” she said. “As we go about our lives and our work, we are saying to the terrorists: ‘You are hate-filled murderers, but you do not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, considerate and open’.”

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