In language comparable to that of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party, Germany’s anti-refugee right-wing political party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), has announced that Islam is not compatible with the German constitution.
"Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution," said AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch on Sunday.
Fueled by Europe’s refugee crisis and rising anger against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s asylum policy, according to which over a million refugees have entered Germany, the AfD gained access to German state parliament with double-digit percentage after elections in the states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony-Anhalt.
Storch, who is also a member of the European Parliament, added that her party is “in favor of a ban on minarets, on muezzins and a ban on full veils."
The banning of full Muslim covering has also been called for by Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), but references to Islam being incompatible with the constitution has never been brought up.
"Islam is not a religion like Catholic or Protestant Christianity, but rather intellectually always associated with the takeover of the state," said a regional AfD leader, Alexander Gauland. "That is why the Islamization of Germany is a danger."
Following the remarks, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel noted that the AfD’s calls are reminiscent of those by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party.
In February, one of AfD’s leaders, Frauke Petry, sparked wide spread controversy when she said German border police should shoot at refugees entering the country illegally.
"Armed force is there as a last resort," Petry told the regional newspaper Mannheimer Morgen but "police must stop refugees entering German soil."
Chief of Staff of the German Chancellor Peter Altmaier said, “This proposal is inhuman and absurd. With this suggestion, the AfD has shown its true colors.”
The AfD’s rise, which has been stoked by angst over dealing with the refugee influx, coincides with similar gains in other European anti-immigrant parties such as France’s National Front.
Europe is facing its worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II as vast numbers of asylum seekers fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East try to gain access to the continent.
The refugee crisis in Europe and a series of Daesh related terrorist attacks across the globe have led to the rise of Islamaphobia among racists and xenophobes in the West.