The rise of far right party, AfD, in Germany, well known for its explicitly Islamophobic agenda is worrying minority groups who are particularly targeted by the group’s agenda.
Opinion polls suggest that the populist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, will shine in the upcoming state elections ― in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania on Sept. 4 and in Berlin two weeks later ― which is provoking anxiety among members of Germany’s Muslim and Jewish communities.
The AfD was founded in 2013 as a hardline Eurosceptic party, but has now shifted towards an anti-immigration agenda. Its popularity has soared in recent months, in tandem with growing security concerns and agitation over the integration of the more than 1 million — mostly Muslim — migrants that have arrived in Germany last year.
Earlier this year, AfD approved a manifesto that states “Islam is not a part of Germany,” and proposes a ban on the call to prayer and face veils in public places.
“Orthodox Islam, which does not respect our legal system, or even challenges it, and which claims dominance as the only valid religion, is not compatible with our legal system or with our culture,” the party’s manifesto said.
Muslims, however, are not the only group threatened by the rise of the populist party.
“The Jewish community in Germany is following the rise of the AfD with concern,” Josef Schuster, president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, told HuffPost Germany. “They’re spreading fear and prejudice, thereby endangering the cohesion of our society.”
In addition to exhibiting “serious intolerance for Muslims and other minorities in our country,” Schuster says, the party’s platform is “against Jewish life.”
AfD’s draft manifesto published on April 30, 2016, referred to the circumcision of boys as “serious violations of fundamental rights,” a position that Israeli daily Haaretz said is “easily viewed as targeting the Jewish community.”