A growing protest movement that has held weekly displays against Germany’s lax immigration laws and Islamist-friendly policies has met strong resistance through the country’s politicians, the news media, and Europe’s multiculturalist establishment.
The protests against radical Islam were organized by a group called Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), who say that they are a non-partisan outfit that promotes Judeo-Christian western values.
Their numbers have surged as of late, with over 10,000 braving the cold for a December 8th protest in Dresden.
Although the German government and mainstream media have described the group as “far-right,” “extremist,” and even Nazi-like, the group’s motto tells a different story. Its slogan, “We are the people!” is borrowed from the freedom fighters in East Germany, who used the same phrase to bring down the Berlin Wall.
On December 10th, PEGIDA published a series of bullet points articulating exactly what the group stands for. Some of the bullet points, which were translated by the Gatestone Institute, are as follows:
“13. PEGIDA is FOR maintaining and protecting our Judeo-Christian Western culture.”
“16. PEGIDA is AGAINST the establishment of parallel societies/parallel legal systems in our midst, such as Sharia Law, Sharia Police, and Sharia Courts, etc.”
“18. PEGIDA is AGAINST religious radicalism, regardless of whether it is religiously or politically motivated.”
“19. PEGIDA is AGAINST hate preachers, regardless of religious affiliation.”
Top government officials weighed in on the surging protests, pledging that the heavy-hand of government will step in to remove “any form of hatred.”
A spokeswoman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that the German government condemns the acts of free speech “in the strongest terms.” The spokesperson continued, “There is no place in Germany for Islamophobia or anti-Semitism, hatred of foreigners or racism,” she added.
A recent poll, however, has indicated that Germany’s public believes Merkel has been far too weak on immigration. Sixty-five percent think her governing coalition is not taking the immigration issue seriously. Moreover, about a third of Germans polled believe Germany is undergoing “Islamization.”
Interior Minister Thomas de Maziere dismissed the idea that Germany is suffering from Islamist influences. “There is no danger of an Islamization of Germany,” said Maziere.
Maziere’s dismissal of such a threat may surprise Hamburg residents, however. Just last month, hundreds of Muslim supporters of the Islamic State left their Salafist mosque and took to the streets of Hamburg to attack protesting Kurds with a plethora of weapons.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas added, “We can’t stay silent when xenophobic sentiments are being aimed at people who have lost everything and come to us seeking help. … We must make clear that these demonstrations do not represent a majority.”