Germany's SPD expels author Thilo Sarrazin over Islam comments after 10-year battle

03.08.2020

An arbitration committee has upheld a decision by Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) to expel a former Berlin senator and author accused of racism and anti-Islam rhetoric following a decade-long legal struggle.

The SPD Federal Arbitration Commission confirmed on Friday that the party was within its rights to expel controversial ex-politician and author Thilo Sarrazin.

"The exclusion from the party is therefore effective," the commission said in a statement.

In January, the Berlin State Arbitration Commission already confirmed in an appeal that the exclusion of the party was lawful, a ruling which has now been upheld at the national level.

Sarrazin has previously said he would appeal the decision all the way to the Federal Constitutional Court, a process that could take years. Yet to do so the SPD said he would have to prove there that there had been procedural errors at the arbitration tribunal.

"From my point of view, the decision was already made before the hearing," Sarrazin said in response to the ruling. "This was not an open, honest and fair process."

Friday's was the SPD's third attempt to expel the 75-year-old former Berlin finance senator and banker, the first of which dates back to 2010.

Sarrazin, whose books have reached millions of readers, has been heavily criticized for his comments on Islam. His latest book is titled "Hostile Takeover: How Islam Impedes Progress and Threatens Society".

In 2018, Sarrazin wrote that the "religiously coloured cultural otherness of the majority of Muslims" and their rising birth rates endangered Germany's open society, democracy and prosperity. Sarrazin had argued that the integration of Muslims was barely possible.

Sarrazin has rejected accusations of racism, saying his works have described a gradual division of German society due to the large increase in immigrants who are Muslim. The former SPD member served as finance senator in Berlin from 2002 to 2009 and as a board member of the Bundesbank in 2009 and 2010.    (dpa)

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