The right-wing Alternative für Deutschland or the Alternative for Germany party has set out its new policy manifesto on Sunday in which it has taken a strong stance against Islam. AfD’s decision to stand against unregulated immigration, Islam, and to support border fences and greater national sovereignty in the EU added to the controversies that have been surrounding the party.
Under the slogan of “Courage. Truth. Germany.” that flashed on the banners decorating the hall where the meeting was held, the party also called for the ban on minarets and the public call to prayer and hijab or headscarves in schools.
“Islam is not part of Germany,” the party said in a statement. A more moderate formulation to “stop Islamism but seek dialogue with Islam” was not received well by some 2,000 members of the AfD party who attended the two-day convention that took place in the southern city of Stuttgart, the DW reported.
The conference that was convened to determine an ideological identity for the party was a long-delayed effort. The party now sits in half of the 16 state parliaments in Germany. However, the party is still a combination of competing factions without any strong leadership.
“We rammed home some important political pegs at this conference that differentiate us from other parties and I think it will be difficult for the other parties to deal with that,” the Irish Times quoted Frauke Petry, AfD co-leader and party head in eastern Saxony, as saying.
Petry, who is seen as a “love-hate” figure in AfD, is locked in a leadership battle with Prof. Jörg Meuthen.
A recent poll by the Emnid Institute for the “Bild am Sonntag” newspaper found that the party has now become the third largest party in Germany, beating the environmentalist Greens.
However, according to critics, the party represents isolationism and xenophobia in its undertone. Around 1,500 protesters tried to disrupt the conference on Saturday.