German Right-Wing AfD Party Under Fire over Anti-Islam Comments

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.

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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.

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Merkel’s top spokesman Steffen Seibert reiterated Monday the government’s often-stated position that “Islam is now, without doubt, a part of Germany”.

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