German-Turkish group warns against dialogue with ‘far-right’

A Turkish community leader in Germany warned Dec. 28 against proposals by mainstream politicians for dialogue with a “far-right populist movement” that has drawn thousands to anti-Islamic street protests.

Several ministers and lawmakers have argued the government must listen to the fears about immigration voiced by the so-called “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident” or PEGIDA.

The chairman of the Turkish Community in Germany, Safter Çınar, warned that seeking to understand PEGIDA was dangerous and that xenophobia and racism must remain taboo, the newspaper Tagesspiegel reported.

“What kind of dialogue are we talking about?” he said about the movement which drew a record 17,500 marchers in the eastern city of Dresden last Monday. “Should we tell the demonstrators that Muslims are human beings too?”

The rise of the group since October has sparked counter-protests and much soul-searching in Germany, where expressions of racism are especially troubling given the country’s Nazi past.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Saturday that Germany, a fast ageing country with a low birthrate, needs immigration…

Scare quotes around “far-right populist movement” added by me.