Angela Merkel has again insisted Islam is part of German culture, speaking out to contradict Interior Minister Horst Seehofer after he stressed the nation’s Christian heritage.

“Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany has been shaped by Christianity,” the Christian Social Union (CSU) Bavarian leader told Bild on Friday, pointing to the church’s influence on everyday life and culture.

“These aspects include shops being closed on Sundays, church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas.”

“The Muslims who live with us obviously belong to Germany,” qualified Seehofer, adding that “this does not mean we give up our country-specific traditions and customs out of false consideration for others”.

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