German Muslim group says AfD's surge promotes 'right-wing extremists'

04.09.2019

Voters who supported the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in elections in two eastern states have knowingly helped to put "right-wing extremists" in power, the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany said.

"We must not pretend to ourselves that these voters are casting protest votes or are simply naive," Aiman Mazyek, the chairman of the council, told Tuesday's Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper. "I believe they know that they are assisting right-wing extremists to gain seats in the parliaments". 

Mazyek described positions taken up by the AfD in Saxony, where the AfD almost trebled its support to 27.5 percent, as anti-constitutional.

"It is not the Muslims in Germany, but the AfD that has to commit to democracy," Mazyek said.

Attempts by the AfD to classify Islam as an ideology rather than a religion were against the German constitution. "This is not only an anti-religion, but an anti-constitution position," Mazyek said.

The AfD, which also saw its support in neighbouring Brandenburg rise in the elections held on Sunday, takes a strongly anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim line.

The German immigration authority, BAMF, put the number of Muslims in Germany at the end of 2015 at between 4.4 and 4.7 million in a total population at the time of 82.2 million.    (dpa)

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