CoE concerned over Islamophobic remarks by German anti-immigration party
REUTERS photoThe Council of Europe is concerned of a nationalist and anti-immigration German political party’s Islamophobic statements as it is contrary to European values, the organization’s secretary general has said in a statement.
Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland said remarks by the leaders of Germany’s “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD) party were “contrary to European values, values which Germany as a founding member of the Council of Europe has always strongly supported.”
AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch said April 17 that Islam was not compatible with the German constitution and vowed to press for bans on minarets and burqas at its party congress in two weeks’ time.
“Islam is in itself a political ideology that is not compatible with the constitution,” von Storch told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on April 17.
“We are in favor of a ban on minarets, on muezzins and a ban on full veils,” added Storch, who is a member of the European Parliament.
Jagland in return said even though it was necessary to debate issues important to society, it was wrong to depict Islam as a threat.
“It is right and necessary to have a debate about important issues like integration and education, but to depict Islam as a threat to our society is wrong and hurtful to millions of European Muslims,”Jagland said in a statement issued on April 18.
“We need to strengthen the respect for common values in Europe, not to create new divisions in society,” he added.
The statement added that Jagland would meet with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who is scheduled to address the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly on April 19.
Davutoğlu will also meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg to discuss the implementation of the migration deal between Brussels and Ankara, an EU official said, according to Reuters.