Angela Merkel is set to join a Muslim community rally in Berlin to promote tolerance, condemn the attacks in Paris and send a rebuke to Germany’s growing anti-Islamic movement, the Guardian reported.
The vigil is to start on Tuesday afternoon at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and is organized by the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, under the banner “Let’s be there for each other. Terror: not in our name!”
Merkel, who is to be joined by most of her cabinet at the event, has spoken out against the far-right Pegida group and stressed on Monday that “Islam belongs to Germany”.
Pegida drew 25,000 marchers to its 12th weekly rally in Dresden on Monday, its flag-waving members holding a minute’s silence for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last week.
Its latest protest was met by some 100,000 counter-demonstrators nationwide, who accused Pegida of exploiting the French attacks by Islamist gunmen, and who voiced support for a multicultural German society.
Merkel has thanked leaders of Germany’s 4 million-strong Muslim community for quickly and clearly condemning the violence committed in the name of their faith in last week’s bloody attacks in Paris.
“Germany wants peaceful coexistence of Muslims and members of other religions” and the vigil would send a very strong message, she said at a joint press conference with the Turkish prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.
Pegida, launched in October, has grown to set new attendance records week after week and spawned smaller copycat groups nationwide.