Germany’s populist AfD party debates Islam as congress continues

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Sunday turned its focus to the issue of Islam in Germany, after having decided on Saturday to call for a reduction of Brussels’ say in German politics at its congress in the southern city of Stuttgart.

The AfD leadership has said it sees the Islamic religion as a political ideology that is not reconcilable with the German constitution. It is opposed to allowing the construction of minarets in Germany, and wants to ban both calls to worship by muezzins and the wearing of full-face veils.

Co-chairman Jörg Meuthen said on Saturday that although religious freedom was an essential part of German culture, the Western, Christian world view was the guiding principle, and not Islam. For this reason, he said, muezzin calls could not be given the same status as the ringing of church bells.