Sarrazin, author of book that criticized Muslims, leaves bank board
M & C
Sep 17, 2010, 18:25 GMT
Berlin – Thilo Sarrazin, a politician whose book on immigration has angered German Muslims, formally stepped down Friday from his job on the board of the country's central bank.
German President Christian Wulff relieved him of his responsibility, Sarrazin told the German Press Agency dpa in Berlin. Only Wulff has the power to appoint or remove people from the board of the Bundesbank, which is independent of the government.
Sarrazin's book, Germany Abolishes Itself, has become a best- seller with its claim that uneducated Muslim immigrants are a burden on government budgets and a problem for Germany's future.
Muslims have been angered at what they see as social problems in parts of Berlin being used to slur their community nationwide.
Sarrazin, 65, leaves the Bundesbank payroll at the end of this month under terms that were reportedly mediated by Wulff aides between Sarrazin and the bank. He is to receive his official pension immediately, with a top-up to compensate for lost future salary.
The bank was embarrassed by the book controversy. Sarrazin is a former minister of finance of the city-state of Berlin.
In an interview to appear Saturday in the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has rebuked Sarrazin, said she had seen serialized extracts from his book but would not be reading the book itself.
'The extracts were enough to grasp the ideas, core and purpose of his argumentation,' she said. His departure from the bank was not a blow to freedom of opinion, she added, but arose from the 'context' of his public functions.
Merkel said integrating immigrants into German society was one of the 'things I have sought most dearly.'