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Why are Cameron’s EU partners backing anti-Muslim PEGIDA in Germany?

By In Vino Rimoribis

It’s a little-known fact that David Cameron’s political partner in Germany is not the mainstream Christian Democrats led by Angela Merkel. The Tories’ partner is actually the eurosceptic Alternativ fur Deutschland (AfD). The emergence of Pegida and its weekly Monday night marches in Dresden seems to play into the hands of the AfD as it tries to draw away right wing support from Merkel’s party.

Pegida is a nationalist movement whose main cohesive point is one of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim immigration. What is little known is that informal contacts between the AfD and Pegida are already well-established. Whilst the mainstream German political parties condemn Pegida’s activities, the AfD has refused to join in.

The cross-currents of Pegida also run deep which also impact on other areas of centre-right influence in Europe. The AfD is the official German party that is part of the Conservative’s group in the European Parliament. The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) bloc also contains a variety of parties opposes to immigration such as the Finns party (formerly the True Finns). Yet the AfD with its implicit support for anti-Muslim policies belong to a political group led by a Muslim. Dr Syed Salah Kamall is the chair of the ECR group and must be extremely uncomfortable with the AfD’s current activities.

President Erdogan of Turkey must also be worried about political developments in Germany with the large Turkish community (with its moderate form of Islam) fearful of the direction Pegida wants to follow, Again, the links with the conservatives seem contradictory, with Erdogan’s AK party allied to the UK Conservatives in the Council of Europe.

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