German founder of anti-Islamist Pegida to speak in Limerick
Lutz Bachmann invited to address conference organised by anti-immigrant group
Lutz Bachmann, co-leader of anti-immigration group PEGIDA, a German abbreviation for “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West”. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
“Mr Bachmann has said he looks forward to coming to Ireland and wants to experience the unique Irish hospitality which has been abused for far too long by the liberal cabal,” said Identity Ireland.
He originally founded the organisation to protest at the establishment of 14 refugee centres in the Dresden area and the group began holding a series of weekly protests against the centres.
Eight months later Pegida issued a programme including demands such as stopping the influx of asylum seekers, suspending the Schengen Treaty on free movement and imposing strict border controls
The 10 point programme proposed by Mr Bachmann and other Pegida leaders went so far as to advocate Germany exiting the EU if it attempts to block Germany implementing the proposals.
The group says that it is protesting against the erosion of Germany’s Judeo-Christian culture by Muslim immigrants but denies that it is racist or xenophobic despite its right wing rhetoric.
Earlier this month, Mr Bachmann was convicted of “inciting racial hatred” and fined €9,600 over posts on his Facebook page in 2014 in which he called refugees “scumbags “ and “filth”.
And just this week, Pegida was again accused of racism after it objected to the faces of black and Middle Eastern children featuring on packaging for Germany’s iconic Kinder chocolates.
The rise of Pegida has been condemned by the German authorities with Minister of the Interior, Thomas De Maizière calling the organizers of the rallies “far-right extremists and demagogues”.
“Stay away from those people who are injecting this hatred, this poison into our country!” said Mr De Maziere, a member of Angel Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union of Germany party.