BERLIN (JTA) — A German official says he will sue to prevent his ouster from Germany’s top bank board over remarks about Jews and Muslims widely condemned as racist.
Thilo Sarrazin, 65, a board member of the German central bank since May 2009 and a former finance minister for the state of Berlin, is threatened with losing his bank position following a crescendo of criticism surrounding the Aug. 30 publication of his book "Germany Abolishes Itself."
It would be the first time since 1957 that anyone has been fired from the central bank.
On Sept. 2, the board asked German President Christian Wulff to dismiss Sarrazin from his position. Only Wulff, of the Christian Democratic Union Party, can approve the firing. Sarrazin has said he would fight the decision.
In his book, and in public comments surrounding its release, Sarrazin has blamed Muslim immigrants for what he considers a decline in German culture. He also has said that Jews and others possess superior genes.
Prominent Jews and Muslims have blasted Sarrazin, and his political party, the left-of-center Social Democratic Party, is considering his expulsion.
The far-right extremist National Democratic Party of Germany has publicly supported Sarrazin’s views on Muslims, though not on Jews.
A survey of 501 Germans for the Bild am Sonntag paper, released Sept. 4, suggests that a narrow majority of Germans — 51 percent — agrees that many immigrants from Turkey and Arab countries are unwilling and even unable to integrate into German society. Thirty-nine percent rejected Sarrazin’s views outright.
According to the Emnid survey, 18 percent of Germans would vote for a political party that supported Sarrazin’s views.