German center-left moves to expel member over racism claims

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BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s main center-left party has moved to expel a former regional official over his harsh criticism of Muslim immigrants after two failed attempts over recent years.

Thilo Sarrazin, a former Berlin state finance minister, has been an embarrassment to party leaders for nearly a decade. In 2010, he quit as a board member of Germany’s central bank amid controversy over a best-selling book he wrote claiming that German society was being made “dumber” by Muslim immigrants.

Social Democrat general secretary Lars Klingbeil tweeted Thursday that a party arbitration commission in Berlin approved leaders’ application to expel Sarrazin. He said that “racist ideas have no place” in the party.

Previous attempts to expel Sarrazin failed in 2010 and 2011. The 74-year-old, who rejects the accusations of racism, is entitled to appeal.

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