Berlin, 10 Rabiul Awwal 1436/1 January 2015 (MINA) – Church leaders across Germany used their speeches on the eve of the New Year to voice opposition to xenophobia, and the anti-Islamization movement PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) that has been gathering steam throughout the nation in recent weeks, Deutsche Wellenews agency reported.
Connected to the increasing number of PEGIDA demonstrations across Germany, church leaders have called for solidarity and communal spirit in 2015, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Cologne’s Archbishop Rainer Maria said in his New Year’s Eve sermon that “it is not us in wealthy Europe who have a refugee problem, but the poor neighboring countries of the crisis regions.”
“This is a truth we declare too little, too timidly, and too quietly,” he added, referring to the fact that out of the 45 million displaced people in the world, 86 percent are sheltered in countries directly neighboring their homelands.
Protestant leader Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, Bishop of Bavaria also called for an end to the exclusion of migrants. The Archbishop of Aachen echoed Woelki’s words saying, “We must show the refugees that we take their suffering seriously and that they are welcome among us.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also criticized the movement in her pre-recorded New Year’s address, warning Germans not to follow PEGIDA because “their hearts are cold and often full of prejudice.” (T/P011/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)