By Pete Papaherkles —
German nationalists are taking to the streets to protest what they call the “Islamization of the Western World” and the increasing street violence recently seen in German cities by competing Islamic groups. The German nationalist PEGIDA movement held its largest protest so far on December 22, with more than 17,500 protesters marching in Dresden. Organizers claimed a crowd of over 20,000.
The Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West, or PEGIDA, a peaceful “strolling” movement, has grown rapidly since a few dozen protesters first marched in October. Holding an “evening stroll” protest march for 10 straight weeks now, the numbers have kept growing steadily, reaching 15,000 last week.
The peaceful protesters in Dresden carried song sheets and sang Christmas carols before Christmas while holding signs with slogans like “Against Religious Fanaticism,” “Against Hatred, Violence and the Quran,” and “No Sharia in Europe.” The marches are in protest of exploding illegal Muslim immigration, which has resulted in street battles in many German cities this year between ethnic Kurds and terrorist Militias of Salafist Muslims armed with broken bottles, machetes, knives, brass knuckles, firearms and even kebab skewers. In October, outside a mosque in Hamburg in October, 400 Kurds fought with 400 radical Muslims.
Alarmed at the rapid growth of the peaceful PEGIDA movement, German authorities—and the international media who refer to them as “pinstripe Nazis”—are trying to contain the movement.
About 4,500 counter-demonstrators were organized to march through the city under the slogan “Dresden Nazi-free,” warning that there was no space for racism and xenophobia in “the country that perpetrated the Holocaust.” Counter-demonstrations have also taken place in other German cities, the biggest held in Munich, where reportedly 12,000 rallied under the banner “Make space—Refugees are welcome.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has cautioned Germans against falling prey to any form of “xenophobic rabble-rousing” and to watch out that they are not “instrumentalized” by the organizers.
“Everyone [at PEGIDA marches] needs to be careful that they are not taken advantage of by the people who organize such events,” she warned. “There’s freedom of assembly in Germany, but there’s no place for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries.”
Muslim immigration is a topic of hot debate in Germany this year following a surge in the numbers of “asylum seekers,” fueled by the wars in Syria and Iraq. Germany takes in more asylum seekers than any other European Union country and expects 200,000 claims for 2014, up from 127,000 in 2013.
Yet, the “asylum seekers” have recently become more brazen against their hosts, not only in Germany but throughout Western Europe. In France, a Muslim took down public Christmas decorations and repeated declarations were made by Muslim leaders that they will soon conquer Europe.
Speaking at the event, PEGIDA’s founder and leader Lutz Bachmann stated that “Germany is not a land of immigration” and demanded that those who wish to live in the country do so “on the basis of the Christian-Jewish merits of our constitution and our German culture with its Christian-Jewish roots.”
Ironically, Germany, a predominantly Christian country of 80 million, has 4.5 million Muslims and only 120,000 Jews. There are 245,000 Buddhists and 120,000 Hindus. Does a paltry 0.15% Jewish population make Germany a Christian-Jewish culture?
Pete Papaherakles is a writer and political cartoonist for AFP and is also AFP’s outreach director. Pete is interested in getting AFP writers and editors on the podium at patriotic events. Call him at 202-544-5977 if you know of an event you think AFP should attend.