Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected claims by the anti-foreigner Alternative for Germany (AfD) party that Islam was out of step with the nation's constitution and represented a danger to the country.

"In Germany, freedom of worship is guaranteed by the constitution and that is true for Muslims in our country," Merkel said on Monday at a joint press conference in Berlin with the leader of the world's biggest Muslim country, Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Merkel was speaking after Muslim leaders in Germany compared claims by the AfD that Islam was incompatible with the constitution to views promoted under the Hitler regime.

The chancellor said "the vast majority of Muslims practise their religion here in the framework of the constitution."

If that was not the case, then the security authorities would decide to place those in question under observation, she said.

"But as a rule the vast majority follow exactly what we have enshrined in the constitution," Merkel said.

Buoyed by successes in three key state elections last month, the AfD called at the weekend for banning minarets and burqas in Germany, warning of the threat of the Islamization of the country.

However, the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek hit back, telling state broadcaster NDR that for "the first time since Hitler's Germany there is a party that again seeks to discredit an entire religious community and threatens its existence."

Speaking at a government briefing, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said the chancellor had repeatedly stressed "that it is clear that Islam undoubtedly has become part of Germany."

At the same time, members of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and its Bavarian-based Christian Social Union (CSU) allies led the attack on the AfD from Germany's mainstream political parties.

"The AfD is becoming more and more radical," Franz Josef Jung, the CDU-CSU parliamentary group spokesman for churches and religious communities, told the daily Die Welt.

The anti-Islamic statements from the AfD were "highly dangerous" and aimed at dividing the nation, Carsten Sieling, the Social Democratic mayor of the northern German city of Bremen, told dpa.

Sieling currently heads the council representing the premiers of Germany's 16 states.

In weekend interviews, AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch and the party's leader in the eastern German state of Brandenburg, Alexander Gauland, warned about what they saw as the dangers of Islam.

"Islam is in itself a political ideology which is not compatible with the constitution," von Storch told the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

"We are in favour of a ban on minarets, on muezzins, as well as full veils," said von Storch who is also a member of the European Parliament.

"Islam is not a religion like Catholic or Protestant Christianity, but instead is always intellectually associated with a takeover of the state," Gauland told the newspaper.

"That is why the Islamization of Germany is a danger," said Gauland, who described Islam a "a foreign body" in Germany.

However, Mazyek insisted: "This is not an anti-Islam course, but an anti-democratic course."

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.