Cologne prepares for protests over mosque
The conference includes plans for a protest Saturday against the construction of a large mosque in the western German city. Several hundred people are expected at the nationalist protest and up to 10 times as many at counter-demonstrations, police said.
City officials, churches, labor unions and left-leaning political parties have organized protests throughout the weekend. Dozens of local bars and cafes are also joining in, using the name of the city’s local brew, Koelsch — called “No Koelsch for Nazis” — for a protest that aims to block nationalists from Cologne’s downtown square.
“The organizers of this congress want to feed prejudices, fan fears and sow hatred,” said Antonia Kuehn, a political youth leader.
Experts say nationalists are using the mosque issue to mask their real intentions — founding a right-wing political party that is attractive to Germans who fear a growing immigrant population.
We will have to see where this leads. I really don’t like Muslims build mosques (normally with foreign funding which has no control…), when no temple from any other religion can be built in Muslim countries. But even if denouncing immigration is something really needed because its management by European Governments has been rather shocking (at the least), some groups are not interested in this but to achieve their own agenda.
Anyway, saying “founding a right-wing political party that is attractive to Germans who fear a growing immigrant population“, if it’s only what it says, wouldn’t be any dangerous, it would be absolutely legitimate. The problem as I said, is that this legitimate target (whether you agree with it or not) can be used by extreme nationalist types, who in Europe are Neo-Nazis or similar. That, for me, is truly dangerous.
Those attending the event starting Friday in the west German city include Filip Dewinter, head of Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang party, and Andreas Mölzer, the Euro MP once ejected from Austria’s Freedom Party for being too extreme.
Also adding his support to what organisers call Europe’s “shared, thousand-year history”, identity and “Western values and Christian traditions” will be Mario Borghezio from Italy’s anti-immigration Northern League. Jean-Marie Le Pen, the veteran head of France’s financially stricken Front National who has several past convictions for racist and anti-Semitic outbursts, has declined an invitation to attend, however.
The rally is being organised by the far-right Pro-Köln (For Cologne), which says it on its website that “half a dozen” coaches have been hired to bring supporters from Belgium. A “high-ranking delegation” is also expected from Austria, as are supporters from Italy, Spain and Britain, it says.