Merkel to attend Muslim rally after anti-Islam marches

Merkel to attend Muslim rally after anti-Islam marches
German chancellor and cabinet will take part in Berlin rally for tolerance day after 25,000 took part in anti-Islam marches in Dresden.
1 min read
13 January, 2015
Dresden marchers depicted Merkel in a headscarf with the message "here are the people" [AFP/Getty]
Angela Merkel is set to join a Muslim rally promoting tolerance and condemning attacks in Paris following mass demonstrations against Muslims in eastern Germany.

The chancellor and her cabinet will be in attendance as Germany's president, Joachim Gauck, addresses the vigil at 5pm GMT on Tuesday at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

The rally has been organised by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany under the banner "Let's be there for each other. Terror: not in our name!"

The chancellor has spoken out against the right-wing populist "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident", or Pegida, and stressed on Monday that "Islam belongs to Germany".

Pegida on Monday drew a record 25,000 marchers to its 12th weekly rally in Dresden, in eastern Germany, its flag-waving members holding a minute's silence for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last week.

Germany divided over 'the Islamisation of Europe': Read Zak Brophy's report here. 

Their latest protest was met by counter-demonstrations accusing Pegida of exploiting the French attacks.

Merkel on Monday thanked leaders of Germany's four-million-strong Muslim community for quickly and clearly condemning the violence in Paris.

"Germany wants peaceful coexistence of Muslims and members of other religions" and Tuesday's vigil would send "a very strong message", she said.