Alexander Dobrindt, the leader of the Christian Social Union’s (CSU) parliamentary party, defended against criticism on Wednesday that his conservative Bavarian party was seeking to marginalize Muslims while doubling down on the stance that “Islam is not part of Germany.”

The comments by a high-ranking politician from the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) threaten to reignite a debate that the German government has been hoping to let peter out for weeks.

Speaking with Funke media group, Dobrindt said:

– “Muslims who want to integrate into our society are part of our country, but Islam is not part of Germany.”

– Islam “has no cultural roots in Germany and with Sharia as a legal system, it has nothing in common with our Judeo-Christian heritage.”

– Islam “doesn’t culturally shape our country” and “it should not” be culturally influential in Germany.

– “No Islamic country on earth has developed a comparable democratic culture like the ones we know in Christian countries.”

– Dobrindt also defended a plan to dramatically limit refugee family reunifications, saying: “Refugees should return to their home countries whenever this is possible. Family reunifications can also take place in pacified home regions and not only in Germany.”