The Alternative for Germany (AfD) left a meeting with the Central Council of Muslims early after the party refused to compromise on a minaret ban.
The meeting between the Central Council of Muslims (ZMD) and AfD leader Frauke Petry was initially hailed as a step toward creating a dialogue between the German Muslim community and the anti-mass migration party.
However, the meeting, which took place in Berlin, lasted only an hour. According to Aiman Mazyek, chairman of the ZMD, Ms. Petry left first after she made it clear to the Muslim group that the party platform that calls for a ban on the construction of minarets is not negotiable, reports Die Presse.
Mr. Mazyek said that he was hoping to change the minds of the AfD leadership when it came to their new party platform that was voted on in Stuttgart last month. The AfD would like to see a ban on various public displays of Islam including calls to prayer, the construction of minarets and halal slaughter practices.
“We should not give up hope,” he remarked while giving an interview on German television, saying that there could be a possibility of setting up another meeting in the near future.
Mr. Mazyek claimed that the policies outlined in the new AfD party platform were unconstitutional under German law, and said that the proposals would restrict the religious freedom of Muslims. He claimed the AfD would continue to “follow the path of populism, defamation and prejudice.”
Mr. Mazyek had previously made incendiary remarks about the AfD platform last month when he told German radio station NDR: “for the first time since Hitler’s Germany there is a party that once again is discrediting a whole religious community and threatening its existence.”
AfD leader Frauke Petry had been offended by the remarks and had asked Mr. Mazyek to retract the statement several times – which he has chosen not to.
Ms. Petry said that unless the inflammatory comments were retracted, the two groups would not be able to “achieve what we considered the aim of the discussion,” which is “how to work with the differing values of a still politicised Islam and a secular society.”
The ZMD and the AfD do agree on some issues. In December of last year Mr. Mazyek and the ZMD called on the German government to seriously consider a cap on the number of migrants coming into the country, warning that unlimited mass migration may overwhelm the German welfare state:
“Morally, there may be no upper limit because of the values of our constitution and our historic responsibility. Practically, however, it seems this limit will obviously be reached soon in Germany,” advised Mr. Mazyek.