In the city of Dresden in the former East Germany a protest broke out recently by a new grassroots movement called Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West). This group has been holding events for the last couple of weeks, and the numbers of protester have steadily increased. According to the International Business Times, on Oct, 20 about three hundred and fifty people attended the rallies compared to the 18,000 on Jan. 5, and over 25,000 on Jan. 12. In regarding this issue, there is a popular book called “Deutschland schafftsich ab”, meaning “Germany is doing away with itself” translated into English, written by the Thilo Sarrazin. In the book it discusses the dangers of immigration.
So just how dangerous is immigration? How can immigration lead to the danger of the people within a society (particularly in this case the German society)? How did we do by life without realizing the dangers of immigration? What are we trying to protect by being anti-Islamic?
As I was gathering information about the Germany protest to further help my understanding on this topic, I discovered some concerns that the Germany people have regarding the immigration of Muslim individuals. The reason for the grassroots movement, Pegida, was the preservation of the German identity and to prevent the erosion of the German Judeo- Christian culture. Pegida also demanded that foreigners who commit criminal offences are expelled from the country. In addition, Many German’s believe those immigrants will take advantage of the German system. One of the many questions people are asking, “is this a genuine concern or just racism?”
I believe one of the biggest factors that has led to the anti-Islamic protests in Germany has been the media and a lack of knowledge about the Islamic faith or belief system. In opinion this is because Germany isn’t as culturally diverse as Canada and doesn’t have the exposure to the Muslim population.
Not all Germans are against the immigration. A top-selling German tabloid called Bild published a “No to PEGIDA” appeal on Jan. 6. Within the appeal there were quotes from the fifty politicians and celebrities. Bild’s deputy editor, Bela Anda, wrote in a commentary that they are trying to put a stop to xenophobia and instead encourage diversity and tolerance. Counter-protesters (individuals in support of Muslim immigrants) have been attempting to prevent the fanning of racism and intolerance in the Germany society. The Reuters UK reports that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel shuns the anti-Muslim protesters, “saying their hearts are full of hatred and argued that hostility towards foreigners has no place in Germany.”
The media has been a big factor that affects the Muslim population, even the Pegida Facebook page. There is a certain misconception and stereotype around the Muslim population that can hinder people to make irrational decisions.