An ugly confrontation unfolded on the streets of Newcastle, England, last weekend.
On one side were approximately 2,000 people of all colours and creeds who had assembled under the banner of Newcastle Unites. On the other, a group of just under 400 people who came together to protest what they perceive as the Islamization of the western world; a “Muslim tide” they claim threatens the fabric of British society and its traditional values. The latter group was an apparent offshoot of the far-right organization PEGIDA — or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West. Since its formation in Germany last year, the group has managed to draw thousands into the streets in various European cities with what many perceive as a divisive and racist message.
In January, with little fanfare and even less media coverage, PEGIDA landed in Quebec.
A Facebook page set up by the group, featuring photos from PEGIDA demonstrations around the world, had attracted just under 600 “likes” as of Wednesday, and their first official rally is set to take place on March 28 in St-Léonard. The Montreal Gazette reached out to the organizers behind the page on Wednesday, but they did not respond to a request for comment…