German nationalist party presents anti-Islam platform

20.09.2017

A German nationalist party called Monday for tighter security measures aimed primarily at immigrants, while again insisting that Islam is incompatible with democracy as Germany's election campaign entered its final stretch.

Alternative for Germany co-leader Alexander Gauland told reporters that "Islam is also a political doctrine" and as such "is incompatible with a free democratic order."

"In this respect, it is not a part of Germany," he said.

Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD, is on track to enter parliament for the first time in Sunday's national election with about 10-percent support in recent polls. Gauland says it wants to prevent the "Islamisation of Germany."

Among other proposals, he said AfD wants a ban on minarets and public calls to prayer from mosques, a ban on headscarves for teachers and students, and for imams to lead prayers only in German.

At the same news conference in Berlin, Gauland's co-leader, Alice Weidel, presented a broad range of proposals she said would make Germany safer, including the reintroduction of conscription to enhance border security, imprisoning foreigners who commit crimes in facilities in other countries, and making it tougher to get citizenship and easier to lose it.

Gauland and Weidel were short on specifics about how their proposals could be put into practice, but will likely never have to provide details since any measures would have to be approved first by parliament as well as overcome constitutional challenges. Other parties say they won't include AfD in a new government.

Doubling down on an earlier statement that the country could be "proud of German soldiers' achievements in two world wars," Gauland said he didn't "understand the whole fuss."

He said 95 percent of German soldiers weren't involved in war crimes and that "in many families there are framed photographs of fathers and brothers. These people want to be proud of the sacrifices that were made."

He insisted he was talking about "the individual achievements of German soldiers in two world wars."

"This has nothing to do with the crimes of the leadership," he said.    (AP)

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