By Ayhan Simsek
BERLIN (AA) – Lawmakers from different parties heavily criticized the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on Thursday over its controversial motion demanding a ban on the Quran.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) accused the AfD of distorted generalizations about Islam and stereotyping Muslims as violent.
“Your allegations are malicious, discriminating and also destructive. What you are trying to achieve is not social peace but discrediting Islam and its believers,” CDU lawmaker Christoph de Vries said during a debate at the parliament.
Merkel’s coalition partner Social Democratic Party (SPD) also rejected the motion, saying that it was another attempt by the AfD to stigmatise Muslims.
“You are inciting hatred against Islam in a calculated political manoeuvre,” said SPD lawmaker Lars Castellucci.
“The big majority of Muslims in this country stand for democracy, they are loyal to our country,” he stressed.
The opposition Left Party lawmaker Christine Buchholz said AfD’s leader Alexander Gauland was increasingly resembling Adolf Hitler.
“AfD is trying to denigrate Islam with the same methods used by anti-Semites against Jews,” she said.
Buchholz accused the AfD conducting an anti-Muslim campaign by using passages from Quran, which were always taken out of context.
“The Left Party supports religious freedom of all people in this country,” she stressed.
The far-right AfD’s controversial motion, which was submitted to the Committee on Legal Affairs on Thursday for further debate, demands the government to take necessary measures to ban disseminating messages of the Quran.
The AfD scored record gains in federal elections last year and entered the parliament for the first time.
Adopting an explicitly anti-Islamic rhetoric, the AfD argued that Germany was under the threat of “Islamization”, especially after nearly one million refugees — mostly from Syria and Iraq — arrived in the country since 2015.