Angela Merkel will use her televised new year’s eve address tonight to call on Germans to reject the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) movement, remarking it “goes without saying” that Germany should accept mass immigration and refugees from the third world without questioning it.
Only last week PEGIDA, which started as a small ‘stroll’ in the east German city of Dresden in October of 200 like-minded people, had grown to a significant march of 17,500. After three months of weekly Monday strolls, PEGIDA called a special Christmas protest, and the crowd met to sing Carols against radical Islam. Thanks to the organisation, the Islamisation of Europe has hit the top of the German news agenda for the first time, and has goaded the political establishment into a reaction.
Chancellor Merkel’s speech, which will be televised tonight, has been previewed by European media and will instruct German citizens to shun the PEGIDA movement, and to accept what it protests with open arms. In the pre-recorded tape, Merkel made reference to the rally slogan of the Patriotic Europeans ‘we are the people’, a phrase inherited from strollers in a previous generation who campaigned against censorship and oppression in Communist East Germany.
The chancellor said: “Today many people are again shouting on Mondays: ‘We are the people’. But in fact they mean: You do not belong – because of the colour of your skin or your religion.
“So I say to everyone who goes to such demonstrations: Do not follow those who are appealing to you! Because too often there is prejudice, coldness, even hatred, in their hearts”.
Asylum applications to Germany have quadrupled in the past two years, and immigration is at a twenty-year high. This sudden spike in new-comers to Germany, along with a series of fierce pitched battles between immigrants bringing foreign conflicts with them to the streets of Europe are among the main inspirations for the PEGIDA movement, alongside parallel Sharia legal systems and a perceived failure by many to integrate. Despite that, Merkel was full of praise for migration.
Moving on from damning those in Germany who campaign against radical Islam, Merkel herself criticised radical Islam, speaking of the atrocities performed in the name of the newly established caliphate, the Islamic State. She said: “One consequence of these wars and crises is that worldwide there are more refugees than we have seen since the second world war. Many literally escaped death.
“It goes without saying that we help them and take in people who seek refuge with us”. Merkel said because of the falling birthrate and an ageing population immigration was necessary, and indeed was “a gain for all of us”.
The chancellor added that Germany being the single most popular destination in Europe for asylum seekers and migrants was “perhaps the biggest compliment” that could be paid to a nation.
Angela Merkel is not the only member of the German political and social ‘elite’ to criticise the strollers of the PEGIDA movement. The country’s centre-left SPD have gone as far as calling PEGIDA “Nazis in pinstripes”, and during last week’s Dresden stroll the Bavarian state opera house turned off its lights and unfurled large banners promoting ‘humanity’ in protest.
PEGIDA had announced they would resume their marches in the new year on Monday the 5th of January this morning, however by Wednesday afternoon the posts had been deleted from Facebook, their primary method of communication with followers. A statement released by the Group along with a link to a news article about Merkel’s condemnation of the group asked: “Are we nearing a ban on our movement?
“We had to delete some posts! The cause for this are the nightly activities coming from the left. They posted false images of our movement, to make racist and anti-constitutional comments by using fake profiles. We ask for your understanding!
“We wish you a happy new year and a better, peaceful 2015 for all us!”