Thousands of German citizens have been taking to the streets to protest the growing “Islamization” of their country.
The protests are part of a burgeoning grassroots movement made up of ordinary citizens who are calling for an end to runaway immigration and the spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany.
The guardians of German multiculturalism are fighting back: they are seeking to delegitimize the protesters by branding them as “neo-Nazis” and by claiming that the Islamization of Germany is a myth contrived by misinformed citizens.
But there is a mounting public backlash over what many perceive as the government’s indifference to the growing influence of Islam in German society. This backlash represents a potentially significant turning point—one that implies that the days of unrestrained German multiculturalism may be coming to an end.
The latest protest took place in the eastern German city of Dresden on December 8, when more than 10,000 people defied freezing temperatures to express their displeasure with Germany’s lenient asylum policies.
Germany—which is facing an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers, including many from Muslim countries—is now the second most popular destination in the world for migrants, after the United States.
The Dresden protest was organized by a new citizens initiative, “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West,” better known by its German abbreviation, PEGIDA, short for “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes.”
PEGIDA, which has been organizing so-called “evening walks” (Abendspaziergang) through downtown Dresden every Monday evening since October, has seen the number of protesters increase exponentially from week to week.
Similar anti-Islamization protests have been held in the western German cities of Hannover, Kassel and Düsseldorf, where 400 people showed up on December 8 for demonstration organized by a PEGIDA offshoot, named DÜGIDA.
These protests are similar to, but separate from, other mass demonstrations organized in Cologne and other German cities by a group called Hooligans against Salafists, or HoGeSa.
On December 10, PEGIDA published a “Position Paper” outlining what the group is “for” and “against” in 19 bullet points. These include:
- “1. PEGIDA is FOR the acceptance of asylum seekers from war zones, or those who are subject to political and religious persecution. This is a human duty!”
- “2. PEGIDA is FOR amending the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany to include a list of the right and the responsibility for immigrants to integrate.”
- “9. PEGIDA is FOR a zero-tolerance policy vis-à-vis asylum seekers and migrants who commit crimes in Germany.”
- “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.”
In a classic case of shooting the messenger rather than heeding the message, German politicians have dismissed PEGIDA protesters as ignorant and racist.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière characterized PEGIDA as “shameless,” adding: “We have no danger of Islamization, certainly not in Saxony or Dresden with 2.2% immigrant population.”
In October, it emerged that so many asylum seekers were converging on Bavaria that they needed to be housed in tents normally used for the annual Oktoberfest.
In September, the governor of Bavaria and leader of the CSU party, Horst Seehofer, called for the return of border controls with Austria to stem the tide of refugees seeking asylum in Germany.
The Schengen Agreement, which entered into effect in 1995, abolished internal borders within the European Union, enabling passport-free movement between most countries within the bloc.
Although international law holds that migrants are supposed to claim asylum in the first country they reach, many are taking advantage of Europe’s open borders to claim asylum in Germany after first passing through Italy and Austria.
Full article: Germans Rise Up Against Islamization (Gatestone Institute)