The SPD has reacted with relief to the decision of the berlin state arbitration commission to expel thilo sarrazin from the party.
"I am really glad," said SPD secretary general lars klingbeil in berlin on friday. The SPD stands for cohesion. "Someone who promotes anti-muslim theories, someone who promotes racist theories, needs a clear stop sign."
On thursday, the decision of the SPD’s state arbitration committee became known, according to which the SPD may exclude the former berlin finance senator and best-selling author for conduct detrimental to the party. The proceedings were triggered by sarrazin’s book "hostile takeover: how islam impedes progress and threatens society," published in 2018.
Sarrazin immediately accused the arbitration commission of blocking a substantive discussion. Klingbeil, as a representative of the party’s executive committee, had refused to name specific quotes from the book to substantiate the accusation of racism. "It was clearly not a matter of establishing truth, but of punishing sentiment."
On friday, klingbeil said of the accusations: "it’s amazing how different memories of meetings can be."He could not go into details, because all actors were under an obligation of secrecy. But: "there are several expert opinions, there are several public statements, all of which prove that dr. Sarrazin makes anti-muslim and racist arguments."
After the decision, sarrazin announced through his lawyers that he would appeal to the federal arbitration commission in the next instance. The SPD feels well prepared for this. "We have the arguments, we have the facts on our side," said klingbeil. Sarrazin’s lawyer andreas kohler expects a decision from the supreme party arbitration court in about half a year – until then, the 74-year-old may keep his party card in any case.
In case he fails there, too, sarrazin has already announced that he will go all the way to the federal constitutional court if necessary to prevent his expulsion. However, the situation would then be completely different, according to the SPD. Then he would be out and would have to sue for re-entry into the party.
Of course, the trial is also an instrument for sarrazin to attract attention in order to continue selling books, klingbeil said. However, in these times it is important that a party like the SPD has a clear stance against all arsonists and agitators. "That’s why a decision like this has to be made, it has to be followed through," said klingbeil.
In the first instance, the arbitration committee of the SPD district association of charlottenburg-wilmersdorf had judged sarrazin’s theses to be "clearly racist" in summer 2019 and decided to expel him from the party. In 2018, sarrazin wrote, among other things, that the "religiously colored cultural differences of the majority of muslims" and their rising birth rates were endangering an open society, democracy and prosperity in this country. Integration is hardly possible. After 2009/10 and 2011, this is already the third attempt by the SPD leadership to get rid of sarrazin.