Talks break down between German right-wing AfD, Muslim group
A meeting between Germany's right-wing populist AfD party and a Muslim organisation ended in acrimony Monday after less than an hour.
A co-chair of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, said there was nothing left to talk about after the Muslim group had compared her party to the Nazis.
Aiman Mazyek, the head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany (ZMD), who initiated the meeting held in a Berlin hotel room, said the AfD's anti-Islam stance was unconstitutional because it discriminates against an entire religion.
The AfD, founded on a eurosceptic platform three years ago, has since protested against Germany's record refugee influx that last year brought more than one million asylum seekers to Europe's top economy.
The party, which has won regional assembly seats in a series of state elections, declared early this month that "Islam does not belong to Germany" and said it wants to ban minarets, the call of the muezzin and the full facial veil.
Mazyek, whose group represents only a part of Germany's four-million-strong Islamic community, said at the time that the AfD was the first German party since Hitler's Nazis to discredit and threaten an entire religious group.
Mazyek said after the short meeting Monday that the AfD had left no doubt that it intends to continue to "follow the path of populism, defamation and prejudice".
He said his group's position was that the German constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion, "is non-negotiable".
Petry complained that in the short meeting the other side had declined to discuss specific topics such as Islamic sharia law and had "demanded that we withdraw a democratically adopted party programme".
© 2016 AFP