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PEGIDA – The Canary in the Coal Mine?

The following article by IWP alumnus Benjamin Fricke was published by the Political Developments Research Center.

The last few weeks in Germany have been an intense struggle between fear, reason, and propaganda. Media outlets, politicians, and protesters were out in public presenting their views about Islam and Islamization without meaningful debate. Dresden became the new center of protest against Islamization, as well as a debate about Western values, such as freedom of the press. The discussion is led by a new movement called PEGIDA, which is a German acronym that stands for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident.” The movement has started to draw attention in a number of German cities, such as Dresden, Berlin, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Munich, and Kassel. However, in Berlin, Cologne, and Munich the movement produced a strong counter-reaction, coming from the media, leftist associations, and even the church.  Numerous politicians and prominent people came out to brand the movement as one of ultra-right wing extremists and uneducated peasants, which it seems are a problem in provincial Saxony only. The PEGIDA rally on January 5, 2015 in Cologne, for example, was prematurely halted because of a strong counter protest. To add insult to injury, the lights of the Cologne cathedral were shut off by the church, which also caused controversy within the church community. Some Christians, however, see their Western values disregarded and unprotected even by the church.  German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her New Year’s address, advised people to not follow those who protest in Dresden, because too often they are ‘prejudiced, cold, and even carry hate in their hearts.’ 

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