World / Europe

Merkel vows protection of Muslims, fight against terrorism

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-15 21:23

BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Thursday against exclusion of Muslims in the wake of Paris attacks and pledged to heighten security measures to combat terrorism.

Merkel made the remarks while speaking at a special session of the German parliament to commemorate the victims of last week's attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Opening her address to the Bundestag on Thursday morning, the chancellor said "we are shocked and stunned by the death of 17 people in the attack", adding that Germany stood alongside France in solidarity in their time of loss.

Merkel promised that as chancellor she would protect the Muslim community in Germany.

She spoke out against discrimination and exclusion, noting that "every exclusion of Muslims in Germany, every general suspicion is forbidden."

"We will not let ourselves be divided," Merkel went on to say, referring to a recent growth in Germany's anti-Islamization movement, PEGIDA.

The chancellor also presented plans to fight against terrorism.

The German government would take steps to stop radicalized German citizens from leaving Germany to fight for terror groups in conflict regions, as well as to punish financial backers of the terrorists.

The bloodshed in Paris has raised concerns in Germany about its own security, sparking a debate over measures to counter terrorist threats following the attack.

The German cabinet, in this regard, agreed Wednesday to make necessary changes to Germany's identity card law. Potential extremists affected by the new law would have their ID card confiscated and replaced with a new one that does not allow them to travel outside Germany.

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