Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) leader Christian Lindner has been condemned on the social media for a comment that he made on foreigners, including Indian engineers, while delivering a speech at a party convention in Berlin on May 12.
“When you’re standing in line in the bakery and someone in front of you orders a sandwich in broken German you can’t discern whether he is a highly qualified artificial intelligence engineer from India or a foreigner who is being tolerated here illegally,” Lindner said.
He added, “The others in line need to be confident that everyone who is here is staying here legally to ensure that they don’t fear this foreigner or look at him skeptically.”
Lindner also said that this difficulty emphasized the importance of an immigration policy, which is based on liberalism and the rule of law.
Lindner’s comments were criticized by many on the social media, with people condemning his stand on foreigners. “Did I understand Lindner correctly? We cannot look at people who speak broken German, because we cannot be sure that they are righteous. This is a shameful way to behave, aggressive and unfriendly to strangers (translated by Google),” Marek Dutschke, the son of the German student activist Rudi Dutschke, said on Twitter.
The comment made by Lindner led to another FDP member, Chris Pyak, leave the membership of the party. Pyak took to the social media to announce his decision of quitting the FDP. “In his speech, Christian Lindner has given all Nazis an excuse to harass dark-skinned people,” he said on Twitter.
Many others poked fun at Lindner’s comments, saying that the problem is that he “obviously has not been standing in line for far too long.”
Lindner was told off by another Twitter user, who said that that she is not afraid of people who speak broken German. “I am afraid of those who, in their delusion, do not realize that they are human beings,” Esther aka Kampfbuddhine posted.
After he was slammed by many on the social media, Linder took to the social media to explain what he meant by the comment. “I would again want to explain what I exactly wanted to convey by my baker’s comment,” he wrote on Twitter.
Lindner added that he stood by his comments, which, he said, were inspired by a true story where a foreigner experienced xenophobia in a bakery line in Germany due to the migrant crisis.
Several migrants and refugees have come to Germany from the Middle Eastern and African nations in the past few years.
“Whoever thinks my comments were racist or populist is being hysterical,” Lindner said in a video he posted on Twitter.