AFP, April 18, 2016
Germany’s right-wing populist AfD party drew heavy fire Monday after two of its leaders labelled Islam incompatible with the country’s values and constitution.
The three-year-old Alternative for Germany party, which harshly opposes Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy, plans to adopt an anti-Islamic manifesto at a conference this month.
The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany Aiman Mazyek charged that “the AfD is riding a wave of Islamophobia”.
“It is the first time since Hitler’s Germany that there is a party which discredits and existentially threatens an entire religious community,” he told public broadcaster NDR.
They were reacting to AfD deputy leader and member of the European parliament Beatrix von Storch who had said that “Islam is a political ideology that is incompatible with the German constitution”.
She had also said her party would call for a ban on Islamic symbols such as minarets on mosques, muezzins’ calls to prayer and full-face veils, speaking to newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Merkel’s top spokesman Steffen Seibert reiterated Monday the government’s often-stated position that “Islam is now, without doubt, a part of Germany”.