German anti-Muslim demonstrations grow

Immigration to Germany is at a 20-year high. Counter-demonstrators have stressed that Pegida’s message against immigrants is against German values.

MCT Photography

Immigration to Germany is at a 20-year high. Counter-demonstrators have stressed that Pegida’s message against immigrants is against German values. “They want to stress that we here in Cologne do not want to have anything to do with right-wing extremists and xenophobic people,” Cologne mayor Juergen Roters said in ‘BBC News’.

Anthony Popenoe, Staff Writer

Anti-Islam rallies in Germany have reached an overwhelming high in recent weeks as at least 18,000 marched in the city of Dresden on Jan. 5.

The rally was started by “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West” (Pegida), who has been organizing rallies weekly since October in protest of the increased immigration of Muslims.

Many have condemned the demonstrations as prejudiced and counter-protests have risen up in opposition. The cathedral in the German city of Cologne, turned off their lights as a symbol of disapproval towards a nearby Pegida demonstration.

“You’re taking part in an action that, from its roots and also from speeches, one can see is Naziist, racist and extremist,” cathedral dean Norbert Feldhoff said according to ‘RT. “And you’re supporting people you really don’t want to support.”

Even German chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out against Pegida’s protests, criticizing them in her annual new year’s address.

Merkel criticized protesters for their use of the slogan of the 1981 Berlin Wall protests, saying “today many people are again shouting on Mondays: ‘We are the people’. But what they really mean is: you are not one of us, because of your skin color or your religion,” according to ‘RT’.

“I say to all those who go to such demonstrations: do not follow those who have called the rallies because all too often they have prejudice, coldness, even hatred in their hearts,” Merkel said.

Pegida, however, argues that they are not xenophobic. Furthermore, a recent survey shows that 1 in 3 Germans support the anti-Islam marches.

“We’re not racist, we’re not xenophobes. We just want the government to know what we think,” Pegida supporters said according to ‘BBC News’.